Dashboards are a pervasive concept in software, and for good reason. Whether you’re using analytics tools, an accounting platform, design solutions, or anything else, you’ve probably run into them.
Dashboards are interfaces that organize and display information in an easy-to-read manner. They illustrate key performance indicators (KPIs), valuable metrics, and action items all in real-time so you can get a snapshot of whatever situation they help you handle. In many ways, they’re analogous to dashboards in cars or airplanes, which let the driver or pilot monitor vital information and stay on the right course.
In the world of business management solutions, your dashboards should easily inform you about your projects, finances, staff performance, and the like. They can be shared between users or be private to a single person so everyone has the information they need.
To take a closer look at how dashboards keep you in the loop, let’s work with BQE Core. Core lets you create an unlimited number of dashboards that you can fill with the widgets that help you with exactly what you need. You can customize their layouts and share them with your team, if you wish. Plus, all of the information is shown in a consistent and intuitive manner. While one of the dashboards will be your default, you can view any dashboard instantly in order to monitor different aspects of your business. If you’re an account administrator, you can control which employees see which dashboards, too.
Here are some of the ways you can configure dashboards in Core.
One vital dashboard to have deals with your firm’s finances. You can populate it with interactive lists, donut graphs, bar charts, and other types of displays relating to your financial health. While what you put in it is entirely up to you, you should think about including:
1. Your aged receivables, including a breakdown of money owed to you by its past-due date
2. Client performance, which shows cash receipts from clients in order to demonstrate how significant each one is to your firm.
3. Earned value—a display of project plans versus actual work versus the value of completed work, which shows you if a project is on track in terms of time and budget. It’s one of the best ways to monitor performance and see if you need to change course.
4. Gross margins, which are key for knowing the profitability and margins for each client.
5. Income versus expenses—another crucial element of your overall financial well-being.
6. Expenses and income breakdowns, which show you where you’re spending and earning your money, and consequently help you see where you might want to cut spending and where you might want to focus your activities.
Meanwhile, both managers and staff should use personal dashboards to focus on their deliverables. This type of interface, naturally, is more task- and project-oriented. It gives you information like:
1. Your to-do list—a crucial concept whether you keep track of your priorities in a paper planner, a digital calendar, a dedicated app, or anywhere else. The advantage of having your to-do list in your firm management software is that you can assign items to other users, view what percentage has been completed, designate start and end dates, and set reminders.
2. An employee allocation calendar, which displays the projects you’re working on, how many hours are allotted to each one, and how much time you’ve spent on them so far.
3. Paid time off (PTO) you’ve earned (and are probably excited to use).
4. Personal reimbursable expenses.
5. Your time performance breakdown—a display of how you’ve spent your time in terms of billable hours versus non-billable hours, overhead, and PTO.
6. A feed of documents added to your projects, which is incredibly helpful to see what’s new.
7. A list of workflows that shows anything that’s been submitted for your review, ranging from staff time cards to reimbursements to PTO to invoices.
If you’re a manager, you can also create a dashboard to monitor team performance. It’s a great way to get a centralized and detailed overview of what’s going on. You can add widgets like:
1. Notes that team members are adding to projects or to their own records, which is especially helpful when everyone keeps meeting and phone notes in the system.
2. Time performance—as noted above, a straightforward way of seeing how much of each employees’ time worked is actually billable.
3. Activity performance, which keeps track of your most profitable activities based on their billed time.
4. Employee performance—similar to activity performance, this presents your most profitable employees based on their billed time.
5. Staff effective rates, which illustrate how much you’ve actually earned based on all hours worked, not just billable ones.
There are so many more ways to configure your dashboards in Core to get the information you need. The three types listed above are mere suggestions to get you started. One of the key values of having firm management software is getting KPIs and other insights in one place. Make sure you take advantage of that!