Painting with Numbers
Or, “Data Visualization” as us business professionals call it.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousands words.” Well, that’s what data visualization is for your business. It takes the vast ocean of raw numbers regarding your company’s performance, pulls them out of those confusing spreadsheets that are impossible to interpret, and translates them into easy-to-read, visually digestible charts and graphs. It makes tracking the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of your business infinitely less complicated and when done right, can give you powerful insights for improving everything you do.
Now, that’s great and all, but what executive has the time and resources to commit to it? What we’re talking about isn’t something you can do in-between meetings or on your lunch break (if you even get one of those). It’s the culmination of a near unhealthy amount of hours spent obsessively digging through data, analyzing it, organizing it and figuring out how to present it in an appealing way — not exactly conducive to your attempts at work-life balance.
Good news is: you don’t actually have to do any of it yourself these days. Because thanks to the ever-advancing digital world we live in, there’s this thing called an Executive Dashboard that will do all the legwork for you and spit out some amazing data visualization and performance insights with just the push of a button. Phew, problem solved, right?
Not quite. There’s still a critical piece of the data visualization puzzle that needs to be solved. What kind of data should you be seeing? What are the most important metrics to manage and track? What are the things that will make or break your company’s success? These are what’s called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They’re unique to your business and signal how well you’re doing, or not doing, in important areas.
There are hundreds of KPIs that businesses can use to measure themselves, including:
- Revenue and sales
- New customers
- Billings v. bookings
- Received leads
- Site traffic
- Click-thru and conversion rates
… and a whole lot more.
When it comes to identifying the right KPIs for your business, having the help of a financial expert comes in handy. They’ll work with you to figure out what KPIs will have the biggest impact on your business, set target ranges for success in each and then create strategies that will enable you to hit them. Having that combination of technology that can break down and simplify your data for you, plus humans who can help you actually do something about it is a must — and it’s what makes data visualization work.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to this: What you can’t see can and will hurt your business. Executive dashboards and data visualization make sure you see the right data at the right time in the right format — so you can make smarter, quicker decisions with it.
Dave Chase is Managing Partner at Advanced CFO. At Advanced CFO, we provide fractional accounting and financial services. We have served more than 800 clients. They see us as their strategic, outsourced CFO. We provide CEOs with critical information so they can make key decisions with confidence. We do this by leveraging our experience and technology to provide actionable information and results. For more information, click here.