When we last visited with Steve, he was invoice rich, but cash poor. Having resolved that matter, he called again the other night. “Man, I just can’t make sense of all these numbers. I’ve been trying to look at my bottom line again, income versus expenses, and invoices, and I’m just downright confused, again.”
“Haven’t you looked at the dashboards I sent?” I asked.
Like Steve, many of my clients are entrepreneurs who are interested in closing the next deal and building their operations, but they find the details of accounting tedious. That’s why I provide custom dashboards for each client, helping to provide them with meaningful metrics based on their business. By doing this, we turn big, scary financial reports into simple, salient points that are really easy to understand.
For example, Steve has a creative marketing agency. One of his hot buttons is ensuring his staff completes a project within the hours allocated for that project so he doesn’t have to eat the costs. To help him, DeepSky creates quarterly charts based on Steve’s time tracking system that compares the number of hours spent on a project with the number of hours invoiced. This way, Steve knows which of his clients take more time and whether he needs to modify the way he bids on a project.
Dashboards are really useful tools because people either don’t know how to read a financial report or don’t want to take the time to thoroughly digest it. Dashboards tell a financial story at a glance.
Part of my process when working with clients like Steve is to understand the financial story he needs to see each month. For example, Steve needs to make sure he is not paying staff more than he is charging clients.
Each business has its own unique financial story based on the work it does. The next time you get stuck, think about turning the numbers into something visual. It really does help.