What is an Expense Analysis Dashboard for Higher Education?

Expense Dashboard are considered financial analysis tools and are used by CFOs and Accounting Managers to quickly understand uses of funds and variances versus plan and prior year. Some of the main functionality in this type of dashboard is that it provides simple way to analyze operating expenses from six different perspectives: 1) Top five expense sources with comparison of actual, actual last year and budget. Sources listed in the example include: Repairs and maintenance, scholarships, research, books and library, licenses and other, 2) Total annual expenses with actual and budget comparison, 3) Table with ranked listing of all expense categories and comparison of actual figures with actual last year, variance (%), budget and budget variance, 4) Build up of components of actual expenses, 5) Total expenses by school, and 6) Expenses by campus. The user can apply filters using the “Filter Menu” on top of the screen. You find an example of this type of dashboard below.

Purpose of Expense Analysis Dashboards

Universities and colleges use Expense Dashboards to provide executives with different ways to slice and compare operating expenses. When used as part of good business practices in Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) departments, an organization can improve its decision speed and surplus/deficit, and it can reduce the chances that leaders miss areas of unplanned overspending.

Example of an Expense Dashboard

Here is an example of an Expense Analysis Dashboard with comparison of different uses of funds as well as budget variances.

Example of a Expense Analysis Dashboard for Higher Education Institutions

Example of a Expense Analysis Dashboard for Higher Education Institutions

You can find hundreds of additional examples here

Who Uses This Type of Dashboard?

The typical users of this type of dashboard are: CFO, accounting managers, budget managers, cost accountants.

Other Reports Often Used in Conjunction with Expense Dashboards

Progressive Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) departments sometimes use several different Expense Dashboards, along with Financial statements, detailed expense reports, annual budgets, KPI dashboards and other management and control tools.

Where Does the Data for Analysis Originate From?

The Actual (historical transactions) data typically comes from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like: Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) Finance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC), Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Sage Intacct, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, SAP Business One, SAP ByDesign, Acumatica, Netsuite and others.

In analyses where budgets or forecasts are used, the planning data most often originates from in-house Excel spreadsheet models or from professional corporate performance management (CPM/EPM) solutions.

What Tools are Typically used for Reporting, Planning and Dashboards?

Examples of business software used with the data and ERPs mentioned above are:

  • Native ERP report writers and query tools
  • Spreadsheets (for example Microsoft Excel)
  • Corporate Performance Management (CPM) tools (for example Solver)
  • Dashboards (for example Microsoft Power BI and Tableau)

Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Cloud Solutions and More Examples