Financial departments are constantly pulled in multiple directions; the pressure to stay informed, react quickly to changing market trends, and strategize to maximize value and minimize risk can be overwhelming. Fortunately, automation technology can provide a reliable and cost-effective way to help ensure financial departments remain organized, up-to-date, and proactive. In this post, we'll discuss tips for leveraging automation to keep an eye on financial KPIs and prevent unexpected surprises.
Automation Tools for Monitoring KPIs
Automation technology can be a great tool for helping you monitor your financial KPIs. It can help you to quickly access and manipulate large sets of financial data and make evidence-based decisions. Here are a few automation tools you can use to monitor your financial KPIs:
Utilize online dashboard templates
Online business dashboard templates are a great starting point for any company looking to track their KPIs in real time. Templates come pre-built with relevant financial KPIs such as gross margin, debt-to-equity ratio, and other important financial metrics. With a few clicks, you can quickly set up a business dashboard that will monitor and track all your KPIs.
Invest in financial analytics software
For companies that require more robust financial analytics, investing in specialized financial analytics software may be the way to go. Financial analytics software provides advanced analytics, predictive capabilities, and data visualization tools that can be used to better understand, track, and monitor financial KPIs. This aggregate view can help your team make better, more informed decisions.
Familiarize yourself with automation resources like IFTTT
IFTTT (If This Then That) is an automation platform that connects web services and devices, allowing them to work together in ways they can’t do on their own. For example, you can set up an IFTTT recipe to automatically store key financial metrics in an online spreadsheet each time you add new data. As a result, you’ll never have to worry about manually tracking your financial KPIs again.
3. Identify the Appropriate KPIs
The goal of monitoring financial KPIs with automation is to identify key performance indicators that can help you make data-driven business decisions. The first step to achieving this goal is to identify the right KPIs that are relevant to your organization. Here are some tips to help you through this process.
A. List out the criteria for your KPIs
Start by listing out criteria that fit the KPIs you are interested in tracking. This criteria will help you possibly exclude some KPIs and focus your attention on those that are more likely to meaningfully measure your organization’s performance. Consider aspects such as scope of the metric in terms of relevance to the organization, costs associated with implementation and tracking, and effort to monitor.
B. Consult others in the financial department to discuss the most important KPIs
Involve financial professionals from within your organization to discuss the most important KPIs. For example, you can talk to your finance team or consult external consultants familiar with finance and KPIs. This can help you identify KPIs that are most useful to your goals based on their experience.
C. Evaluate which metrics are most useful and reliable
Once you have narrowed down some potential KPIs, review them and evaluate which metrics are most useful and reliable in measuring your organization’s financial performance. Take into account the accuracy and availability of the data needed to track the KPIs, the complexity of the metric, and how appropriate the KPI is for measuring financial performance. These are all important points to consider when deciding which KPIs to monitor with automation.
Develop Visual Reports
Organizing data into visual reports is an important step for using automation to monitor financial KPI’s. Utilizing visuals can help to understand financial objectives and track progress over time; graphs and charts can help to clearly present data in an easily understandable format. The following sections will explore how to use visuals to best track progress towards financial objectives.
Utilize visuals to track progress towards financial objectives
Analyzing data with visuals can help to clarify complex concepts and summarize data in an easy-to-understand format. Only the most important and valuable data should be displayed in the graph, chart, or financial dashboard, enabling an individual or team to focus on the right information. Starting with a minimalist approach, it can be easier to add context as needed over time. This can also help to keep the visuals concise, making it easier to evaluate quickly.
Create graphs or charts to help visualize progress
Graphs and charts can come in many forms, from scatter plots to donut charts. When creating visuals to evaluate financial KPI’s, it is important to consider the relevant context. For instance, data related to investments can be plotted on a line graph while percentages can be visualized with a pie chart. If a project requires a comparative analysis, bar graphs could be used to compare data over a given period. Selecting the right kind of graph or chart ensures that this data can be accurately understood, enabling swift decisions.
Use a financial dashboard template as a starting point
Creating financial dashboards can be time-consuming, but there are a range of resources available to help reduce this process. Financial dashboard templates can provide a starting point, allowing detailed measurements to be added as needed. Templates allow for faster set up, making it easier to monitor financial KPI’s without having to start from scratch. Template options will vary depending on the relevant financial data, with templates for cash flow, business performance, and expense dashboards available.
- Utilize visuals to track progress towards financial objectives
- Create graphs or charts to help visualize progress
- Use a financial dashboard template as a starting point
5. Establish Automated Alerts
Automation is key in ensuring that financial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are being monitored accurately and in real-time. Automated alerts can indicate when a particular metric isn't performing up to expectations, keeping operations running smoothly and instantly addressing any discrepancies. Below are some important tips for setting up automated alerts for tracking financial KPIs.
A. Configure automated alerts to signal when a metric is not performing up to expectations
Maintaining a close eye on financial KPIs is especially critical. Automated alerts make it easier to quickly spot if one of these KPIs is slipping or is not performing up to the ideal range. By enabling an alert to be triggered if an important metric is not where it should be, timely and accurate decisions can be taken to ensure the financial well-being of an organization.
B. Set up notifications when key stakeholders should be informed or need to take action
Setting up notifications is also a great way to ensure that if something goes wrong or a sudden difference is observed in one or more financial KPIs, individuals or teams responsible for monitoring them are immediately notified. Another valuable function is when a critical metric reaches a certain value, a notification is sent to stakeholders, alerting them that their attention is immediately needed. This helps initiate a swift and coordinated response.
C. Utilize KPIs from SCM and ERP applications
SCM (Supply Chain Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems often feature tools designed specifically for KPIs that have proven to be effective at monitoring financial performance. By integrating these applications into an automated system for alerts, monitoring a variety of business metrics can become simpler and more efficient.
- Track all financial KPIs in any ERP solution
- Stay informed with real-time alerts that notify you of any significant changes in values
- Generate detailed reports, providing you with in-depth monitoring capabilities
Incorporate Automated Reactions
Incorporating automated reactions into your financial KPIs is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that your business is on track to reaching its objectives. Automation tools can provide a massive benefit when it comes to monitoring financial KPIs. Here are some tips on how to use automation to monitor financial KPIs:
Allow Automation Tools To Automatically Adjust Variables
Automation tools can be used to automatically adjust certain variables in order to ensure that your financial KPIs are meeting the desired targets. This includes automatically increasing or decreasing certain variables, depending on the condition of the process or the KPIs being monitored. For example, automation can be used to adjust the rate of return on an investment if it is not meeting the desired level of profitability. Automation can also be used to adjust the amount of time allocated for certain financial KPIs, if they are not being achieved within the specified timeframe.
Utilize Automated Reports To Quickly Analyze Data
Automated reports can help you quickly analyze data in order to determine any discrepancies or trends that may be developing in your financial KPIs. Automated reports can also help to identify areas where additional performance improvements are needed in order to reach the desired results. Automated reports can also provide real-time feedback that allows you to make adjustments or changes as needed.
Set Up Automated Processes To Help Manage Activities
Automation can also be used to automate certain processes in order to help manage activities and ensure that all financial KPIs are being monitored. For example, automation can be used to set up email notifications that alert you when certain financial KPIs reach a certain target. Automation can also be used to automate routine tasks, such as generating financial reports or invoices, in order to help ensure that all financial activities are being tracked and monitored.
By using automation to monitor your financial KPIs, you can ensure that your business is on track to meet its objectives. Automation can help you quickly identify any discrepancies or trends in your financial KPIs, and it can also help to automate certain processes to ensure that all financial activities are being managed and tracked effectively.
Automation is a powerful tool for financial departments to maintain accurate and up-to-date insights into financial KPIs. Utilizing online dashboard templates, investing in high quality financial analytics software, and familiarizing yourself with automation tools will help streamline the process of monitoring KPIs. Additionally, configuring automated alerts, incorporating automated reactions, and developing visually appealing reports can help maximize the benefit of automation to ensure your financial KPIs are being monitored in the most efficient and effective way.
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