Financial controller: how to make your dashboards?

Dernière mise à jour : 28/10/2021

A financial (or management) controller is a data professional. Any activity produces information. This information provides a solid foundation for the construction of financial control dashboards. All this information only becomes data once it has been processed and analyzed. Moreover, the volume of data used today is much greater than it was only 10 years ago. This shows how essential the work of financial control is! To create a financial control dashboard there are important notions to master and rules to respect. This is what we will understand in this article.

financial controller_Plan de travail 1

What is the Management Control Dashboard?


The Financial Control Dashboard is a decision-making tool. It includes specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that measure the performance of a department, an entity or an organization. This dashboard also contains steering indicators that measure the progress of the action plan. It allows us to observe and understand a financial situation and to assess the achievement of objectives. These objectives flow directly from the company's strategy, so a dashboard is a tool that has a direct impact on the actions implemented. The dashboard is also the tool to reduce uncertainties and ti manage activities in the best way. The dashboard of the financial controller is not a control tool but a steering tool!

Some clarification

Performance is divided into two dimensions: effectiveness and efficiency. Effectiveness is the pursuit or implementation of actions to achieve objectives. Efficiency is the optimal use of the means available to achieve these objectives.

As a reminder, an objective must be Specific, Measurable, Acceptable (by the market and the teams), Realistic and Time-bound (SMART model).

The specific features of financial control dashboards

Each Financial controller works on separate dashboards because from one company to another, the data collected, the objectives, the markets, etc. are different. So there is a multitude of dashboards. We will now discuss the main features of the various financial control dashboards.

The Strategic Dashboard

This dashboard focuses on the analysis of the company’s strategy. It includes only KPIs. It is aimed at the management leadership so that it can steer the company’s strategy (and therefore modify it if necessary). This dashboard defines the actions to be implemented within the entities and departments. The performance indicators of this dashboard cover: finance, internal processes, customer performance and organizational intelligence. These indicators are derived directly from the corporate strategy. Also, this dashboard should not be overloaded, it is important to find the necessary indicators. It is a dashboard that is produced on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis.

The operational dashboard

The operational dashboard makes it possible to analyze the performance and evolution of the action plan implemented. This dashboard offers a short-term analysis. It is therefore necessary to use the most recent data possible. It can be developed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

The management dashboard

It is a dashboard that does not require company-specific adaptations. It is generally the same from one company to another. It is used to monitor the performance of the company’s management. It is a predictive tool, which allows, among other things, to anticipate financial problems. It highlights the differences between actual performance and the targets set. The financial management dashboard shall include financial indicators and may also include non-financial indicators. It must also be updated regularly (weekly or even daily). It is a dashboard that participates in medium-term management.

Examples of Financial Controller Dashboards

The choice of indicators involves many players and takes place in a company-specific context. Some questions must be asked before the dashboards are built.

  • Where do the data come from?
  • How is data collected?
  • What is everyone's role in data work?
  • Is the data viable?
  • Who are the dashboards for?
  • What data to collect?
  • How is this data stored?
  • Is the collected data the right one?
  • How was the data aggregated?
  • What temporality do we need?
  • Who validates the data?
  • Are the indicators relevant?

These questions are crucial. For example, in 2016 the cost of false data is estimated at €3,100,000,000 in the United States. Your indicators must be comparable from one period to the next. They must not change every month!

What indicators for the financial controller?

As we mentioned earlier, dashboards (except the financial dashboard) change from one company to another, from one entity to another and from one department to another. Nevertheless, it is possible to list the most common and useful indicators.

Indicators for a strategic dashboard:

Example of Strategic Dashboard

Click on the graphics, it’s a Powerslide!

These indicators are derived from the company’s strategy. They are few in number on this dashboard of the management controller but they are of paramount importance!

On the financial side, the indicators are:

  • The margin rate
  • The break-even point
  • Working capital requirements
  • Cost of production
  • Self-financing capacity
  • Net cash position
  • The gross operating surplus
  • The growth rate of revenue
  • Rate of effectiveness of promotion periods
  • Capital rotation
  • Return on investment

For internal processes, the indicators are as follows:

  • Number of new product launches
  • Delays in the development of new products
  • Number of patent filings
  • The rate of return on production
  • The defect rate
  • The average time to order production
  • Average duration of periods of inactivity
  • The average length of time of processing a call
  • Number of hours of training clients on a tool

For customer-oriented KPIs, the indicators are:

  • The rate of negative mentions on the internet (case of Vinci which loses 19% at CAC40 in 2016 because of a fake news)
  • Market shares by segment
  • Average turnover per customer
  • Share of revenue from new customers
  • Client satisfaction rate
  • The loyalty rate
  • The rate of claims
  • Average delivery time

Regarding organizational learning:

  • Percentage of R&D and/or training investments
  • Level of professional competence of employees
  • Average training day
  • Number of suggestions made by employees
  • Employee satisfaction index
  • Employee productivity rate

KPIs for an operational dashboard

Example of an Operational Dashboard

Operational dashboards cover specific segments of the company (business lines, location, etc.). They are all different from each other. However, it is not uncommon to find a number of indicators in common! There are KPIs related to the different objectives and others that concern the monitoring of teams!

For a Commercial Performance Dashboard:

  • Number of customers
  • The number of prospects
  • Number of orders
  • Revenue by region
  • Revenue per customer
  • The penetration rate
  • The customer conversion rate
  • The average basket
  • Number of appointments completed
  • The satisfaction rate
  • The return rate
  • Average delivery time
  • Percentage of achievement of target

For a Sales Dashboard:

  • Purchase win (difference between first commercial proposal and final proposal)
  • Percentage of supplier non-compliance
  • Number of suppliers per item
  • The proportion of urgent orders among normal orders
  • Share of out-of-process deliveries
  • Average cost of orders
  • Payment deadlines for suppliers
  • The purchasing rate by product families
  • The litigation rate
  • The rate of delays

For a marketing-centric dashboard:

  • Number of items per order
  • The average basket
  • The markdown rate
  • Conversion rate by market segment
  • Revenue by product category
  • Negative rating on the internet
  • The bounce rate (web)
  • Session length (web)
  • Number of page views (web)
  • Number of unique visitors
  • Share of revenue by customer segment

These are just a few examples of KPIs used in operational financial control dashboards. Please contact us if you would like assistance in building your dashboards. We will be happy to answer your questions. Moreover, we now it is complicated to do a good financial reporting, so we wrote an article on "How to design an efficient financial reporting".

KPIs for the financial dashboard

Example of financial dashboard.

We have announced above the KPIs for the management dashboard can be the same from one company to another.

Indicators such as:

  • The amount of the revenue
  • The margin rate
  • The amount of investments
  • Gross operating surplus (EBIT)
  • The level of cash
  • The amount of fixed charges
  • Amount of variable charges
  • The break-even point
  • Working Capital Requirement
  • Average payment time of customers
  • Average payment time of suppliers
  • Average time to stock rotation