I guess many businesses use Excel for this matter because there is currently no other way to handle this amount of data.
Cash flow, budgets, costs and all in between to understand your business' finances.
"Diego has a vast knowledge in managing customers and creating value on a fast pace with a short amount of direction and great results both in design and UX/UI. Great experience working with him!"
Daniel Martin, Founder & CEO
Equity Advisors is an investment and finance firm focused on helping startups and businesses define their business model and study their cashflow, costs, indicators and all in between to maintain a healthy business.
When Daniel (Equity Advisor's founder and CEO) approached me, they were finding themselves repeating the same job for each client. They got together with them to explain countless of pages in spreadsheets so they wanted to create a software which allows both Daniel's team to hand-off the link to the client and provide insightful data without the need to be present all the time and the client having a more elegant way to get that information.
Although I was full responsible for the design of this software and took all the decisions, there were plenty of terms and considerations I was not familiar with and had to study them to make sure the platform made sense for the team's accountants and business owners. At the end of the day, accountants provide the data and business owners read that it.
Moreover, I had to keep in mind that this software had to be very easy to use for accountants but at the same time, it must be pleasant to the eyes of the final user which is the business owner -who may also speak the same language.
- The platform has to work on its own. That means that clients should be able to look at it and understand their whole business without the Equity Advisors' team being next to them explaining it.
- Since business owners should be able to use the platform on their own, they should do so on desktop and mobile devices. How is the platform going to provide the same value on larger and smaller screens?
- There were some sections where I could not explore options in terms of design. There are certain things in this industry that work a certain way and it is best to keep it like that.
They have done this job over and over again so there were no need to do any research as to know what the platform should display in each section.
Designing the platform
Keeping in mind the information provided by the excel files, I managed to create the structure of the whole site. It was a matter of bringing the data to the platform and displaying it properly.
Importing the data
I structured a way for the team to upload the data they already have gathered for their clients as this is the main source of truth.
One thing I needed to consider was that the data for each section is fully independent. That means that the data imported in the cash flow section does not work in the others so I had to create a different flow for each.
Once the data is imported, users get their initial balance, income, expenses and final balance to begin with. This will get them a summary of their operation whether they want to see the evolution or a comparison between incomes and expenses.
I took the decision to breakdown the months of the year as a carousel below the main graphs. (This would depend on the date filtered above the graph).
Within each month, we have incomes and expenses displayed by categories and users may get details on each as needed.
Costs: Gain & Losses
This has been the hardest section of the platform in terms of experience and design so far. Although accountants have been working with pivot tables in excel for quite some time, I needed to provide a simplest solution in this platform to tackle the same problem and make it understandable for everybody.
Importing the data
As in the cash flow section, we upload a .csv file that contains all the data for this particular section and select the columns we want to import, each classified in text_field or numeric_field.
Setting Y and X axis
We decided to keep numeric fields on the Y axis and the text fields on the X axis.
The platform asks you to select the text fields (e.g region/location, product, month) you want to include as options and the same with the numeric fields (e.g net profit, income, expenses).
Drag and drop the fields on each axis
By having the numeric fields on the Y axis and the text fields on the X axis, we make sure there is always a comparison that make sense to view. Users can get results like how much profit clients and study which one is more profitable, etc.
Filter the data
All text fields are filters, which means that whichever box they put on the X axis, they are able to filter the data to match their needs.
Having region/location selected on the X axis, they may want to just see how all the places their business is in performed. But what if they also want to see how just a particular client or product performed in those places? The platform allows them to make those kind of filters.
Details of their operations by year. Each year expands to show its performance by month. Although these are extensive data tables, there are some rules I specified with the rows:
- The ones with red texts indicates expenses or a negative balance and the ones with green texts indicates a positive balance.
- The rows that have a blue or red background are always visible regardless of the user collapsing the category that contains this row. This decision was based on the relevance of the information displayed in this row.