Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

The Dashboard - Conceptual Dimensions and Evolutions

Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

The Dashboard - Conceptual Dimensions and Evolutions

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The dashboard represents not only one of the instruments of management control, but also an effective way to verify the achievement of an activity in order to take the necessary decisions in due time. The control and verification of the manner in which a business is conducted is no more than a translation of economic rationality. In semantic acceptation, panel means, among other things, a table or graph composed of a group of terms, symbols, numbers, often arranged in rows and columns, and, the dashboard, according to the Romanian Explanatory Dictionary, is an array on which there are fixed appliances and tools necessary for vehicle handling and control.

2. The Concept of Dashboard

The dashboard concept is often used to describe various instruments. Usually, when these tools are used in taking economic decisions, they suggest the image of some quadrants or geometric figures able to provide essential data for running a business. In this context, the dashboard idea is similar to the image that provides the visualization of the small lights on the control panel of each system that needs to be directed and led.

Regarding the definitions of the dashboard, as an instrument of management control, the specialized works, especially the French ones, pronounced in different ways, to which, if we give a brief attention, we manage to better fix their place in the "gear" of management control.

Frequently, the term dashboard is used during financial diagnosis. Basically we have no objection, only that in this case, we deal with an instrument with obvious ascertain traits, based solely on financial data provided only by the accounting information circuit. The global and informational data, cumulated in the financial dashboards are particularly important for the person responsible with the business, only that they do not allow short-term interventions, serving better medium term actions. The global financial information is not totally ignored, but they only hold in a limited number of corrections necessary to perform the task. In general, the global financial information does not give the possibility to locate the operational responsibilities.

3. The Connection between the Dashboard and Accounting

The connection between the dashboard, on one hand, viewed from the angle of management control and the accounting and budgetary system, on the other hand, is obvious. It would be a mistake the denial of this link, as the dashboard collects a significant amount of accounting information, but it definitely does not identify to it or to the budget planning and tracking system. From such a perspective, a dashboard as management tool can be introduced independently of the existence of the budgetary system in an enterprise.

The dashboard can use data from the budgetary system and the general accounting, without being confused with these ones, but sharing some common points. It can be constructed, the same as the budgets, based on the existing responsibilities structure in the enterprise, and applying the same principles of analysis of the differences, being anyway, much more sleek, much more synthetic, sometimes with approximate data. While accounting favors the accuracy and the completeness of data, the dashboard is designed to provide faster partial and approximate data. We can conclude that the high frequency dashboards will provide extra-data, while in the annual panels most indicators are calculated based on accounting information. This ensures the coherence of different sources supplying the dashboard by cross game information that enhances their mutual relevance.

As synthesis instrument, the dashboard uses multiple data sources based on several tools: budgets, quality management, commercial management, social management, technical management, financial accounting, cost calculation system, etc.

There is a special relationship between the dashboard and the reporting system. The reporting system is present in groups, and it consists of hierarchical information on the results obtained, it represents the tribute of the branch because it bears its name. …

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