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The Business Performance dashboard is here

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The Business Performance dashboard is now available to all our customers and advisors. This release marks the start of a new wave of Xero functionality. We’re giving our business owners and their advisors access to new, more powerful insights into the health and performance of their businesses.

Last week we talked about what to expect from the Business Performance dashboard. Check out the video to see an overview of the dashboard and the value it provides.

Our goal

It has always been our vision to give our customers more than just an online accounting application. We want to help your business take the next steps toward being profitable and successful.

We’re taking all the information Xero has – invoices, bills, payments, expenses, assets – and using it to provide even more value. We’ll now offer new insights into the health of your business that would otherwise have taken hours of manual input from other dashboards and reports.

The Business Performance dashboard shows you how the performance of your business ebbs and flows from month-to-month. It highlights seasonal variations to help you prepare for the months ahead. It shows you trends in your business that aren’t obvious running reports month-to-month.

Business-Performance-dashboard-release

What can it do?

There’s more going on here than a few pretty graphs.

As an advisor, imagine if you could set thresholds for your clients’ metrics. Imagine that we let you know if any of your clients exceeded a threshold. How would your clients feel if you contacted them before issues become critical?

As a business owner, imagine if you could ask Xero, “am I paying too much for a business in my line of work on travel?”. Or, “…is it me, or do all businesses in my region have a winter slowdown?”.

We want to provide you and your advisor with simple visualizations and key metrics. This should lead to improved business practices, more profits, more staff, feeding the economy. In fact, this is exactly why we started Xero.

Exciting times ahead!

14 comments

Mark Lawton
June 4, 2015 at 11.58 am

I really think you need some far more basic information such as a graph of sales, Gross Profit, Total Expenses and Net profit. Great to have some financial ratios but what about the basics.

A business owner should be able to open their Xero account in the morning, view their bank balance, check how much is expected in, Check how sales are for the month and what there target is (budget figure) and also how are they doing compared to last year. This is still not possible.

Also a quick glance at a graph to see how there YTD Sales, Expenses & Profit is compared to last year.

Xero was designed to be “The easiest accounting system in the world” You want some information that every business owner can understand without reference to their advisor (By the way I am a Xero advisor).

Xero is all about giving the power of accounting to the masses. And I think you are skewing off target here. You need to Keep to the KISS principle.

Ben
June 4, 2015 at 5.22 pm

One concern I have is that many clients setup masses of accounts that have no appropriate Report Codes. This leaves these percentages out of whack and no disclaimer is going to make many of them call us up and go “by the way, are my report codes Ok?”.

I would suggest this feature be able to be turned on, but not visible by default. Part of activation explains what Report Codes are and to seek assistance if they don’t understand.

Andrew Tokeley
June 4, 2015 at 5.22 pm

Thanks for the feedback Mark – we absolutely agree there’s more we can do in this space. We wanted to put a toe in the waters of business insights to get this feedback and more – it will help us to choose the right next steps. We also have lots of ideas ourselves as to where we can take this – exciting!

Andrew Tokeley
June 4, 2015 at 5.29 pm

Hi @Ben, by default, the report code based metrics are not visible to business users until a staff member of their practice turns them on. You’re right, the report code mappings need to be right for these metrics to be accurate.

The metrics that clients can initially see are all based on account types. As long as accounts are assigned the correct account type, theses metrics should be fine.

Mark Lawton
June 5, 2015 at 1.05 pm

Hi Andrew

I understand that this release is the framework for more to come.

I really like how the graphs can be added to the dashboard. I wonder whether you could add “custom graphs” using the report codes to build up formulas and even non-financial data from Xero ie Quotes Sent vs Quotes Won, New Customer sales etc

Rob Guard
June 6, 2015 at 12.29 am

This does look good! Some nice simple and effective reporting.

@Mark – In the mean time you might want to check out CrunchBoards for Xero.

It’s got a very flexible reporting engine that can suffice your need’s today – and there’s a free trial too!

Adrian G. Simmons
June 10, 2015 at 12.32 am

Very excited to see this release, and realize it’s the first step down a road of possibilities. Some thoughts for the future, and to join in with other commenters here:

–Being able to define our own metrics from Xero data would be great: As advisors, we can then help business owners target a particular area outside of standard ratios that we’re helping them focus on for improvement.

–Being able to report on non-financial data would also be awesome. Whether it’s data from Xero (e.g., number of invoices), or a simplified CSV that gets imported to display a visual (e.g. on-time delivery), that would be awesome to see in the Dashboard.

–And being able to include an internal target for comparison purposes would also be good. Comparing to other businesses is nice, but if you’re truly trying to create a stand-apart company, you want to be tracking against your own targets, and less against the average performance out there.

Just a few thoughts, and thanks again for forging ahead here — really appreciate all your hard work to make Xero a dynamite financial platform for small businesses!

Andrew Tokeley in reply to Adrian G. Simmons
June 10, 2015 at 6.09 am

@Adrian – thanks for dropping by and for the suggestions, looking forward to taking this further for sure.

Mark Lawton
June 10, 2015 at 11.27 am

I have just watched Andy Larks presentation from Xerocon and think that some of his comments apply to the performance dashboard. I know you really value honest feedback and I am a huge Xero fan (100% of clients on Xero) so this is why I am passionate about Xero’s new product development. He talked about ensuring you have engagement with your users. Xeros dashboard is the one place in Xero that every user will look at almost every day and so is really important to get right. These graphs will not (in my opinion) engage the majority of these Xero users. As Andy stated they want something that is interesting, solves their problems, and has the “gaming” feel. I think that some more color would add interest, Different graph types ie speedometers, Performance bar graphs against targets, budgets or last years figures etc.

@Robb While all of this is available in addons I think you will get much higher levels of engagement across the business as people interact with Xero every day whereas with addon reporting packages it is usually the domain of only the owner and the accountant and is used much less frequently. I would like to see some metrics that are easily understandable by all Xero users ie # of invoices issued this month & average value, This compared to budgeted sales and/or last year, Expense accounts that have gone over budget by more than a specified percentage for the month (budgeting in real time). The ability to add target bar charts showing where we are at for a month or year for certain accounts and/or report codes. Xero has oodles of development power to make these things happen and must be “Best of breed” in every new product development, regardless of whether there are add-ons or not. If is worth doing it is worth doing right 🙂

Natalja
June 11, 2015 at 8.33 am

Great tools in Business Performance dashboard. But I do not understand how to add more ratios? I want the system to generate such ratios as Total Staff cost as a % of Sales, Total Marketing Costs as a % from sales, Debtors Day Totals, Recovery %, Productivity %. Can be added manually by me ?

Andrew Tokeley in reply to Natalja
June 11, 2015 at 8.46 am

@Natalja – not possible at the moment, but we agree this would be great.

Allen Starkey
June 27, 2016 at 5.42 pm

Looks fantastic, i agree with the comments about the graphs,

From a start up point of view, i would like some reference on what the figures mean, as with anyone starting up there is a huge learning curve, in particular with accounts.

I understand the lack of information maybe due to liability issues however it would be good to recommend a website with links to better understand what we are looking at.

I also understand that it advises to contact your accountant however when i am looking over the accounts at odd times like a Saturday evening, i do not want to wait until Monday.

As you advertise as a great product for small business, i would like to see more information with the product as if i feel you are trying to help me and my business, i am more likely to continue using Xero.

Tim Woodward
July 8, 2016 at 9.12 pm

Here’s a big reason this doesn’t work for advisors, accountants and bookkeepers – our clients with less than Advisor roles can see bugger al!! This is a plea for cashflow and business performance graphs to be available for all – that includes Managed clients… we sell Xero on the basis of that performance dashboard and we have just realised our clients cant see it at all! We are a bureau so we do not want our clients to have access to functionality, but we do want then to have access to the reason we sold them Xero in the first place – the dashboard with its performance graphs, cashflow chart etc! All my clients can see is their bank account – they can get that information from online banking and its more up to date!

Dan Howard
September 10, 2016 at 5.01 pm

These graphs are still too abstracted from the basic information which i can’t get out of Xero no matter how much I try. Here are the graphs that I used to use every day in Quickbooks: Sales by week/ month. Sales by Customer (pie graph), Sales by Tracking category.
These three basic breakdowns of what’s going on for my business are not able to be extracted out of Xero as even a spreadsheet.
If I drill down from say a profit and loss chart into sales, hoping to get sensible information, I’m immediately confronted by a PER ITEM list of sales. Why does this not at least operate at an invoice level first before going into items?
Research you competition. Go to quickbooks, and see their suite of graphs. That’s what you need to deliver. These ratios are for the point heads. What matters to our business is sensible delivery of basic information. Sales and expenses by categories, over time. That’s what makes sense.

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