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5 Financial Dashboard Examples for Strategic Decision Making

Joseph Garafalo
Joseph Garafalo
Posted on
March 2, 2021
Updated on
January 21, 2022
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Financial dashboards shouldn't just give you a pretty way to visualize last quarter’s numbers. They should provide real-time insight into both the numbers and the stories behind them. These financial dashboard examples can uncover insights that help the entire business (not just finance) make smarter decisions.

The average financial dashboard might look pretty. But more often than not, it’s not nearly as useful as it should be.

The problem is that financial dashboards make everyone feel like they’re running the business effectively—when in reality, they’re stuck in an inefficient, siloed cycle with the numbers.

While sales and FP&A use their dashboards to look ahead, accounting is tracking many of the same metrics to look backwards. And even though you have an executive dashboard that tries to bring the two together, you still aren’t basing business decisions on real-time insight into your financial numbers.

The answer isn’t to add more financial dashboards to fill the gaps. It’s to give finance purpose-built business intelligence a better way to pull data from its many sources and distill the numbers in a way that the entire business can understand. Your dashboards can’t just present numbers on a screen—they need to highlight the story and insights behind the numbers to enable more strategic, real-time decision-making.

The following financial dashboard examples help you go beyond historical context and use real-time data to make finance more collaborative and strategic.

finance fundamentals ebook for startups

1. Sales & Marketing Financial Dashboard Example

A good sales and marketing financial dashboard gives the leaders in those departments insight into critical key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive strategic, forward-looking decision-making.

These teams are likely already using out-of-the-box reporting with tools like Salesforce and HubSpot to monitor some key financial KPIs. But the financial data available in those tools is incomplete.

For example, a CRM and marketing platform might calculate customer acquisition cost (CAC) on a high level with basic campaign spending and customer counts. But what about data on advertising spend, and software costs that live in the ERP? Or the data on salaries and commissions that lives in your HR system?

It’s finance’s job to give sales and marketing this kind of insight. The example financial dashboard example below helps you do that.

Financial dashboard example for sales and marketing in Mosaic

Without deeper financial context, sales and marketing leaders can’t solve tough strategic challenges. They’ll see that the pipeline changed, but they won’t know why. They’ll see they’re behind on next quarter’s revenue goals but won’t know how many reps they’ll need to catch up or how long it will take those new reps to ramp before they can contribute in a meaningful way.

Add these 11 metrics to yoursales and marketing dashboard to fill the gaps:

  • Opportunities Created: Total deals created in the CRM
  • Sales Cycle: Average number of days between deal creation and close date
  • Deal Conversion Rates: % of opportunities which convert to closed-won deals
  • Average Selling Price: Average booking amount per deal
  • Sales Rep Ramp: The amount of time it takes the average sales rep to start closing deals
  • Annual Contract Value (ACV): The annual value of bookings from a given period (e.g., a two-year $200k booking has an ACV of $100k)
  • Bookings: The total contract amount for all signed deals in date range
  • Customer Count: Total active customers at the end of a given period
  • CAC: All sales and marketing costs in a period divided by the total number of new customer starts in that same period
  • Pipeline: Total amount of closed-won or open deals in the current period
  • Revenue Retention: The percentage of net revenue retained broken out by ARR or MRR

2. Financial Performance Dashboard Example

Finance teams need a dedicated financial performance dashboard that helps them quickly identify operational issues and pinpoint exactly how to solve them, freeing up time for more strategic tasks.

Normally, the end of each month comes with the same cycle of financial reporting and investigation. The previous month’s numbers come in, finance reviews for anomalies in the data, and then manually identifies and resolves any operational issues. For example, you might notice that cash out is unusually low compared to the previous month. You’ll need to dig into your spreadsheets to figure out which bills you haven’t paid and adjust the numbers once you’ve sent out the checks.

This example highlights operational insights so you spend less time investigated issues.

Financial dashboard for performance in Mosaic

The 10 metrics that make up this dashboard are:

  • Cash In/Cash Out: Net cash flow (cash in less cash out)
  • Gross Profit: Profitability calculated by revenue less cost of revenue
  • Gross Margin: Gross profit divided by total revenue
  • Expense Composition: Total expenses broken down by percentage across key categories
  • Operating Income: Total income less operating expenses like wages and cost of goods sold (COGS)
  • Accounts Receivable (AR) Aging: Current amount of open invoices based on aging bucket
  • Accounts Payable (AP) Aging: Current amount of open bills based on days since the bill date
  • Billings: Total amount of invoices less credit memos
  • Collections: Total amount of customer payments

3. The CFO Dashboard Example

The right dashboard can help CFOs and their teams assume a more strategic advisory role for the business.

Traditional, backward-looking finance functions haven’t been able to play this part. They’ve been too bogged down in past numbers to give executives at-a-glance insights into big-picture financial data that can drive strategic decision-making.

When executives have real-time insight into financial metrics, they can speed up the board deck prep process and unlock the strategic value of board members. And they can make more informed decisions about things like the product roadmap, pricing changes, and resource allocation.

This CFO dashboard provides an overview of efficiency metrics and financial data so finance leaders can maintain a higher-level view of the company's growth trajectory.

The ten metrics that make up this dashboard example are:

  • CAC: All sales and marketing costs in a period divided by total new customer starts in that same period
  • Magic Number: An efficiency metric measuring ARR for a given period against the prior period’s CAC.
  • Rule of 40: The revenue growth percentage plus profit margin percentage
  • SaaS Quick Ratio: The ratio of revenue growth compared to churn and contraction growth.
  • Customer Lifetime Value: The average amount of money expected over the life of a customer’s relationship with your business
  • Revenue Retention: The percentage of net revenue retained broken out by ARR or MRR
  • Runway: The number of months until the cash balance is $0 at the current net burn rate
  • Net Burn: Cash flow from operations (cash in less cash out) over a given period, excluding bank transfers and financing transactions
  • Cash Balance: Total balance of “cash equivalent” accounts at the end of each period
  • Recurring Revenue: Total amount of recurring revenue for a given period presented as either ARR, MRR, or annualized MRR

4. The Executive Dashboard

An executive dashboard should give C-suite members, investors, and board members high-level visibility into the health of your business.

These stakeholders may have specific questions that require additional financial analysis. But your first goal should be creating an at-a-glance status dashboard for the most relevant KPIs like in the example below.

executive financial dashboard example arr expenses topline net burn headcount
Executive dashboard on a Mosaic canvas

Think of this as an executive summary for your business—the kind you might include in a pitch deck or board meeting. Build your executive financial dashboard to include insight into key metrics like:

  • ARR: Total ARR for the last twelve months as well as ARR by account name
  • Cash Balance: The amount of money in the bank (including cash equivalents)
  • Customer Count: Total size of the customer base.
  • ARR Changes: Increases and decreases in ARR by new, upgrade, downgrade, and churn revenue
  • Expenses by Account Category: Cost of goods sold and operating expenses by category
  • Top 10 Vendors: A list of top vendors by expense
  • Net Burn: Cash flow from operations (not including financing or bank transfers)
  • Headcount Composition: Total headcount broken down by percentage per department

5. Forecast vs. Actuals Financial Dashboard

A good forecast vs. actuals dashboard helps finance turn budget variance analysis from a basic reporting exercise to a strategic task.

First and foremost, the dashboard needs to provide an accurate baseline of the company's plan (whether that's a rolling forecast or traditional budget). But it also needs to make it easy for finance to get granular with the data. That means breaking the data down to the department and account levels as necessary, like in the example below.

Forecast vs. actuals financial dashboard in Mosaic

The image above is just a partial component of an effective forecast vs. actuals dashboard. The full version includes KPI examples like:

  • Total revenue compared to plan
  • A budget vs. actuals report for income statement groups
  • Net burn compared to the budget
  • Cash balance compared to your goals
  • Total headcount broken out by department

Want Better Collaboration? Don’t Build Finance Dashboards. Make Canvases.

The average finance dashboard—even a powerful one built with a business intelligence (BI) tool—is a poor collaboration tool. It surfaces the numbers but fails to bring other business stakeholders into the financial conversation.

Mosaic’s canvas solves this problem. It’s part dashboard, part living document, letting you easily create, monitor, and share the right financial information with the right people at the right time.

Collaborative financial dashboard features on a Mosaic canvas

Mosaic canvases go beyond the basic data visualization of a standard financial dashboard. They make BI more accessible, allowing anyone in the business to drag-and-drop charts and graphs, update scenario planning to see the financial impact in real time, and add context to the numbers with text comments. With the canvas, you get an interactive sandbox for collaboration between finance and the rest of the business.

A collaborative finance function is one that can clearly tell the story behind the numbers to anyone in the business. That level of clarity is critical to strategic decision-making. And it’s why Mosaic canvases are the future of financial dashboards.

Want to see how easy it is to analyze and collaborate on financial numbers in Mosaic? Request access and start creating canvases based on real-time actuals.

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