Every business relies on some vital metrics to monitor performance. This information is measured as key performance indicators and often determines whether businesses or organizations stay afloat or struggle. QuickBooks Online dashboard offers a simple and efficient way to display your key performance indicators.
Having said that, sometimes indicators only make sense in the right context with other numbers, such as comparisons to previous months or years or to the budget. Without context, a number may look fine, but when compared to another period, could be disappointing. This calls for third-party tools to create deeper context and meaning.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use and manage the QuickBooks Online dashboard and how to use external tools to get more sophisticated data. Whether you want to increase profit margins or make a business investment, you can use both the built-in dashboard and a more flexible one to make informed decisions that will boost your bottom line.
QuickBooks Online dashboard – the basics
QuickBooks dashboard provides a window into the overall picture of your business finances. Considering the value of monitoring key performance indicators, the built-in dashboard offers many ways to display and review them properly.
The dashboard presents indicators that most likely affect your business and displays this information in different ways. For certain people like accountants who deem that numbers tell the story, QuickBooks’ bar graphs are an excellent option for data representation. The integrated graphical representations might be more suitable for others that are more visual types.
While QuickBooks enables you to visualize, track, and report on key financial performance indicators, all representations are read-only, meaning that you cannot modify filters or time ranges.
How to improve your QuickBooks dashboard
But what if you want to extract more meaningful insight using these data displayed in QuickBooks charts and graphs? What’s more, what if you need to import or export data more frequently to fit your processes and workflows? Well, the good news is that QuickBooks can be integrated with third-party tools, meaning that you build a flexible dashboard outside QuickBooks.
Many tools enable you to export data to selected destinations and view data analytics more regularly, on a set schedule. For example, Coupler.io enables you to export data to your favorite destination, even every 15 minutes. Depending on the task at hand, you can work on this data and build countless chart types for each use case.
The beauty of this data integration platform is that it also allows you to export your QuickBooks data into a spreadsheet and then blend it with the other imports from other tools (e.g., Pipedrive, Harvest, HubSpot, Airtable). Then, you can create a fully customizable dashboard either in Excel/Google Sheets or a data visualization tool (e.x., Google Data Studio and Microsoft Power BI).
Here’s an example of how QuickBooks, Pipedrive, and Harvest data can be blended together in a Google Sheets dashboard:
QuickBooks dashboard analytics explained
QuickBooks dashboard provides an overview of your business activities. It includes a collection of metrics that help you analyze your data and track the performance of your operations in a convenient view.
QuickBooks dashboard examples
To view your dashboard, head to your QuickBooks homepage. The dashboard displays two main tabs:
- Get things done
- Business overview
Get things done tab
In the Get things done tab, you will find three types of services: shortcuts, ‘discover more’ (which assists you in how to set up QuickBooks), and bank accounts.
The setup guide will walk you through the process of setting up your company activities, like navigating your account, customizing your invoice template, and setting up your tax information.
Shortcuts are useful for navigating QuickBooks features more easily, eliminating the time to perform tasks you often do. Such tasks include, for example, adding a supplier, an expense, a bill, a new customer, and more.
The bank accounts option shows the balance for the current account that you have connected to QuickBooks Online.
Business overview tab
The Business overview tab offers an overview of the business activities, such as the status of your income and expenses, bank accounts, sales, and profit and loss. This tab is the actual one that helps you track your business profitability.
You can adjust the timescale in the bars and graphs to display smaller or greater time units. By clicking on the drop-down menu on the top right, you can view data from the last 30 days up to the last year.
On the right side of your dashboard, you will also view the details for the account types you have set up. You can click on the ‘pencil’ icon to update the details. If you scroll to the bottom of the list, you will find options to connect your accounts to a list of banks, or select an account, open its register and view all activity.
Overall, while QuickBooks allows you to select from a list of predefined ranges to adjust the data presented in bars and graphs, you cannot really define a custom date range by choosing start and end dates.
For example, a business might need to map the countries where its top clients reside, calculate its most profitable products, or compare revenues/expenses over any period. To drill down into specific metrics or perform some calculations before displaying the data, you have to build a dashboard outside QuickBooks.
How do I customize my dashboard in QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online dashboard offers an elegant solution for automating bookkeeping, bringing all your data together in one centralized location. However, independent of your business type and size, certain automatic features might not match your needs. As each business has its own set of unique goals and needs that require specific insight.
Thankfully, the tool doesn’t just offer a one-size-fits-all solution but enables you to customize the QuickBooks Online dashboard to your needs. Not all features are customizable, but some are.
Bank accounts and related credit card information can be reordered (by dragging the icons up or down) based on the frequency you use them for easy access.
QuickBooks also allows you to create custom fields to capture data that isn’t already included in the platform. You can add these fields to invoices, sales receipts, refund receipts, purchase orders, etc. For example, you can add a custom field that captures the sales representative responsible for a sale and then run a report to find the total number of sales made by this person.
Ultimately, you can adjust the data presented in bars and graphs to either get a more holistic or a more detailed overview of your financials. The list of options includes, among others, 30 days, last month, last quarter, and last financial year.
An alternative way to create a dashboard in QuickBooks
As mentioned in a previous section, there is an alternative way to build a dashboard in QuickBooks. A custom dashboard enables you to extend the functionalities and capabilities of QuickBooks to meet the unique needs of your business.
Below, we demonstrate an example of a sample dashboard created outside QuickBooks Online.
The method of creating the above custom dashboard relies on automated data exports from QuickBooks using Coupler.io and then using the capabilities of a spreadsheet app or data visualization tool to create graphs there.
Coupler.io is a third-party tool enabling you to automatically provide many different data entities that relate to your QuickBooks analytics bars and graphs. You can mine a great deal of data about invoices, payments, bills, refunds, sales receipts, and many others.
Once you’ve signed up for Coupler.io, you’ll need to complete the following steps to export your QuickBooks data:
- Choose the source and destination apps
You’ll need to choose QuickBooks as a source app. You’ll also find QuickBooks Reports on the list. These reports also serve as a source of data for graphs in QuickBooks.
The list of destination app options includes Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, and BigQuery. We’ll opt to proceed with Microsoft Excel.
- Connect to your QuickBooks account
Log in to your QuickBooks Online account and then click Connect.
- Select a data category to export
From the Data entity list, we pick to export the Invoice data.
- Connect your destination account
Configure your destination account. Then, you will be asked to select an existing workbook and an existing sheet. If you don’t have a sheet, you can create one by typing in a new name.
The importer also asks you to either replace all previously imported data with the latest imported information or place your newly imported data under previously imported entries. The latter is suitable for tracking historical data changes.
- Set up a custom schedule
Coupler.io’s key feature is Automatic data refresh. Here are the scheduling settings available:
- Interval (Every Hour, Every Day, Every Week)
- Day of week
- Time zone
Once you complete this step, you then click Save and Run. Then, the importer will populate the Excel sheet you specified to your Destination account with invoice-related data. The result will look like this:
This invoice-related data listed above can be used further. With Coupler.io, you can automatically export data from other QuickBooks entities and blend them with previous imports from QuickBooks.
For example, you now have an Excel sheet filled with invoice-related data. In other tabs, you already have customer-related data, such as balance and profit reports imported from QuickBooks. All of this data can be blended into a general dashboard. What’s more, as soon as each importer runs again, each data set will be refreshed with fresh data, keeping your dashboard up-to-date.
If you need some more advanced visualization techniques, the QuickBooks data can be easily plugged into BI tools. For example, Excel integrates seamlessly with Power BI, while Google Sheets or BigQuery can serve as data sources for Google Data Studio.
QuickBooks Online dashboard – wrap up
This article thoroughly examined the QuickBooks Online dashboard, to help you to get the most out of this software. The platform’s visually appealing and sophisticated dashboard greatly helps take away the pain from business bookkeeping.
But anyone engaging with financials knows that collecting and organizing data to build dashboards and derive meaningful insight takes a lot of effort. While QuickBooks provides a wealth of features and functionalities, third-party tools for building dashboards outside QuickBooks could prove a real boon when you want to save time and do more with your data.Back to Blog