How to Create Simple, Powerful Financial Dashboards

February 08, 2018

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The dashboard shown above is the one we walked through in my second article in this series (Using a Dashboard for the Metrics That Matter). The dashboard is interactive, so you can play with it. You can:

  • Mouse over the visuals to get additional information about each metric
  • Move between the five pages by clicking at the bottom center of the dashboard
  • Expand the size of the dashboard by clicking in the bottom right corner
  • Use the “slicer” in the top right corner to dynamically change the time periods being presented.

Make your dashboards available on mobile devices

In this article, I’ll talk about how to make the dashboard available online and on mobile devices so the metrics that matter in your business are available anytime, anywhere, from any device.

At the end of the article, I’ll provide links to the following:

  • Free download of the Power BI Desktop application from Microsoft (the tool I used to create the dashboard)
  • The Excel file used to load data for the dashboard
  • The .PBIX file (this is the Power BI desktop application file used to create the dashboard)

That way you can explore the actual files used to create the visual report and the dashboard.

Microsoft Power BI

I created this dashboard in the desktop version of Microsoft Power BI. Power BI is a business analytics tool for exploring data and sharing insights in a unique and powerful way. I absolutely love this tool!

 

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First, I loaded the data into Power BI from an Excel file (I provide a link to this file at the end of this post). Then I created the visual reports. In order to share the report and create the mobile dashboard, I published the report to the Power BI Service (a cloud-based service that requires a Power BI pro license that costs $9.99 per month).

From the Power BI service, I chose the “tiles” (the specific visuals) from the different report pages and “pinned” them to a dashboard. I then chose the “phone view” option so I could design the look and feel of the visuals in the phone layout view. It is surprisingly easy to make it look great on a phone.

Check out this short video where I show you what the process looks like.

Keep it simple on a smartphone

One of the benefits of making your dashboard available on mobile devices is it forces you to keep the dashboard simple. You want a nice, clean view of the metrics that really matter… especially when presenting the dashboard on a mobile device. You want to use numbers and visual displays that instantly communicate insight without clutter or distraction.

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Power BI has some cool features on their mobile dashboards that make it easy for the person viewing the dashboard to dig deeper on certain metrics or visuals. That way they see the big picture first… and they can click to see more detail if they want to get more information or dive a little deeper into the numbers.

The mobile dashboard also makes it easy for the user to make notes on (annotate) a metric or visual then text or email that visual, with their notes included, to others. (See the image below). 

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It adds a little fun to the dashboard while also adding a powerful way to take the insight being communicated and make it easy for the user to turn that information into action.

Check out this short video where I show you how the mobile dashboard works on a smartphone.

It’s all about making better business decisions

Making your dashboards shareable in the cloud, providing the ability to drilldown into more detail easily, and making dashboards available on mobile devices is a powerful way to put valuable information and insight into the hands of decision makers.

Remember, dashboards and metrics are all about helping you and your team make faster, better, more informed business decisions. That goal becomes much easier to achieve when you make insightful business information available anytime, anywhere, from any device.

Are you ready to try it in your company?

If creating dashboards and visual insight tickles your fancy (like it does mine), I’d be happy to share the files used in these examples with you. You can download the files I used to create these dashboards and mobile views here. It’s all free. Even Microsoft Power BI is free.

Have fun exploring your data and creating cool dashboards on the metrics that matter in your business.

Ready to master your business finances? Get our ebook to learn how to effectively manage your working capital and operate more efficiently.

A Business Owner's Guide to Benchmarking

Philip Campbell

Consultant, Author

Philip Campbell is a CPA, consultant, and author of the book A Quick Start Guide to Financial Forecasting: Discover the Secret to Driving Growth, Profitability, and Cash Flow Higher. This new book provides a straightforward, easy-to-understand guide to one of the most powerful financial tools in business: a reliable financial forecast. He is also the author of the book Never Run Out of Cash: The 10 Cash Flow Rules You Can’t Afford to Ignore. The book is a step-by-step guide for business owners and managers who want to better understand and manage their cash flow. Since 1990, Philip has served as a financial officer in a number of growing companies with revenues ranging from $5,000,000 million to over $1,000,000,000. He has been involved in the acquisition or sale of 33 companies (and counting) as well as an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Philip loves helping entrepreneurs and business owners think strategically about the financial side of their business. His consulting work is focused on providing the financial insights that leaders need to increase profits, improve cash flow, and enjoy the fruits of financial success in business. What really sets Philip apart from the average financial person you meet is his passion and excitement about helping entrepreneurs and CEOs take control of their cash flow. In fact, early on in his career, he focused and “preached” so much about the importance of cash flow that people now call him CASH. Philip is the founder of Financial Rhythm, a website devoted to people who are serious about creating financial health, wealth, and freedom in their business. If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, Financial Rhythm is a place to get simple, actionable strategies for creating a financial future that is bigger and brighter than your past. Philip lives in Austin, Texas. You can email Philip at pcampbell@pdq.net.
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