Why key performance indicators (KPIs)?
Measuring key performance indicators is one of the best ways to keep full control over your organization. KPIs break down an organization into manageable sections, be it departmental or even by individual employee, so you can really see feedback on where you’re succeeding, and what areas of your organization might need some attention.
In this blog, you’re going to learn the following…
- How to create a dashboard
- How to add four different types of card
- Learn to build cards and formulas
- An introduction to scenarios, including budgets, forecasting, and what-if scenarios
We recommend you have Futrli open to really understand these processes. If you need more support, get in touch and find out about Futrli Advisory Certification which will help you master the platform.
Create dashboards and cards to present your key performance indicators (KPIs)
Start nice and simple, create a dashboard, navigate to the boards area, and hit ‘New’. This is your blank canvas – just remember to name it something relative before you have multiple, as things might get a little confusing.
From here, you can select ‘Add card’, which is how your reports will be displayed. This will allow you to see data clearly, and to work towards the goals of your organization. Set up Snapshot and Report cards to present KPIs for your organization.
Different types of cards for your KPIs
The Snapshot card: this card lets you display up to five metrics. In the process of tracking your KPIs, this is the best way to get the important information you need, quickly. The back of the card is the settings area, so choose from the drop-down menu and customize it. It’s simple and hugely insightful. From this, you’ll get an idea of:
- Revenue for the current period up until today. We all want to know this!
- The forecast for revenue for the month up until today. This is important – we store your forecast/budget/scenario data just like your accounting data, daily. It’s going to say zero at the moment, but we’re going to fix that in a few minutes.
- How you are performing against your forecast target. Again don’t worry, this will have a progress bar soon.
- How you are performing today in comparison to last month for the same period. This performance indicator is what we obsess over every day, from a revenue perspective.
- How you are performing today in comparison to last year for the same period. A key performance indicator for longer-term progress.
The Report card: a fairly simple card, this one needs to be monitored constantly to be effective. It gives you the results of tracking your KPIs, which is one of the most important things you should be doing.
You’ll use this type of card for many of your insights. Report cards are very powerful and flexible, showing you: any account, category, account group, non-financial data, formula (KPIs), historical and future periods for actual and/or forecast data over bespoke periods.
There are three kinds of data sets within the Report card: actual (from Xero/QuickBooks), forecast only, and both forecast and actual. Futrli is the best solution for true advisory, as it shows the past, present, and future in one place. You can duplicate any card onto any board (or duplicate a board for that matter!) and flip the data into looking forwards or backward in a couple of clicks. This means there’s no need to create the KPIs or display options again.
Display options for your performance indicators
Now let’s play with how you present the data. You can have a chart, table, or combination of the two. If you have multiple KPIs to monitor, with different data types (eg currency, percentage, margins), you can choose which performance indicator would suit which display option.
If you need to work row by row, hit the chart icon and select one. Whichever chart you choose will then be displayed on the row. Update all rows to display the same type of chart by selecting the tick box at the top. You have the option of displaying transactional or cumulative data. The pencil icon will allow you to edit the formula (KPI) you’ve created or selected.
Control your formulas
Use the search bar to find any data within the system related to the organization you’re working on. ‘See all’ will allow you to view all data related. As you select items, they’ll pop up in the formula bar. This should feel familiar, as building formulas are similar to Excel.
Handy functions include choosing whether a result going up is positive or negative (eg income vs cost of sale), copy any formula you make to your formula library for reuse within the search function in cards or within a nested formula later, choose to reference historic periods and transactional/cumulative data instead of the default.
The process of setting up your forecast
This is certainly the most exciting step, and might well be the quickest. Head to the scenarios section and hit ‘New’. From here, enter your settings and info, and match your accounts payable, receivable, and your main bank account – and remember to press save. On your new scenario page, choose last year’s actuals and ‘Quick create’, then press ‘Build’. You’ve now got a two-year forecast based on last year’s actual P&L data.
You can now make another scenario with more realistic payment days, to illustrate a simple cash flow projection. Simply leave the scenario you’ve made with the ‘Back’ button, hit ‘New’ again and this time last year’s actuals and ‘Advanced create’. Name it, turn off every account category, and enter your figures. They’ll be separated into the cost of sales and expenses. Now hit ‘Build’. This gives you a more realistic forecast.
Interpret your results with a suitable key performance indicator
Now you have a forecast, it’s going to be easy to monitor and track your Key Performance Indicators. All metrics will be on your chart. For example, you might have:
KPI 1. Revenue over the next 12 months. The best companies in the world have a hockey stick curve in the cumulative income line, something we are all gunning for!
KPI 2. Net income/profit. You must be aware of how much profit you’re likely to make, so you can make informed business decisions.
KPI 3. Net cashflow. This helps you identify KPIs that you can’t afford to fall below zero.
KPI 4. Bank accounts (cash flow). This is a great one to highlight areas of concern.
You’ve created a dashboard that will allow you to track and monitor your KPIs to feedback to your team or clients and check your organization’s performance at a glance.