Come see the future of business performance

Come see the future of business performance

Many accounting pros have told us that it can be challenging to communicate with clients about the overall financial status of their business. It’s incredibly time-consuming to boil down hundreds of rows of data into a report that is easy to understand, and, more importantly, act upon. We know this often means sifting through information and manipulating data in a spreadsheet to present key insights about the business. And, only then – if you have time – can you guide your client toward decisions that will impact their overall success.

Only half of small businesses survive their first five years, but with you by their sides, their odds of success double. Your input can be transformative. QuickBooks® is investing in ways to help you have an even stronger influence on business outcomes, which is why we are excited to bring the Performance Center – a feature previously only available in QuickBooks Online Advanced – to your clients’ books. Now, any QuickBooks Online Accountant user can access it to advise their client, regardless of which version of QuickBooks Online they are subscribed to, as well as use it to assess the performance of your QuickBooks Online Accountant firm.

Additionally, industry benchmarks will continue to bring a new degree of expert-level industry insights to your accounting advisory, enabling you to better identify areas for business improvement and set smarter goals. Using the power of aggregated, anonymized QuickBooks data, you can compare your clients’ performance to similar businesses in their industry, in the same location and with similar revenue. What’s more, you can easily export the report to share with a client.

What can it do?

Where do I find it?

How do I use it?

How do I benchmark my client’s performance against their industry peers?

What can it do?

Performance Center calculates key ratios, provides metrics, and visualizes your client’s financial performance, automatically. The formulas and charts are created for you right inside QuickBooks, giving you the crucial data needed to have more influential discussions with your clients that will help them grow and become more profitable.

More important than what the new Performance Center can do is what it equips you to do. You can start by reviewing performance across 10 key metrics to establish a baseline, then build your first chart customized to your client’s specific needs. Then, dive deeper by using industry benchmarks to compare your client’s gross and net profit margin to similar businesses in their industry, in the same location and with similar revenue, to identify problems and opportunities, as well as focus and improve your clients’ business outcomes. Together, you can set goals with your client and circle back each period to see how they’re progressing toward those goals, as well as compare their performance with their peers over that same time.

Charts can currently be created across 10 key metrics:

  1. Expenses
  2. Revenue
  3. Gross profit
  4. Net profit
  5. Accounts receivable
  6. Accounts payable
  7. COGS (Cost of goods sold)
  8. Cash flow
  9. Current ratio
  10. Quick ratio

Industry benchmarks are currently available for two metrics:

  1. Net profit margin (NPM) vs. industry benchmarks
  2. Gross Profit Margin (GPM) vs. industry benchmarks

Each chart makes it easy to visualize your client’s performance in key areas, so that you can identify opportunities for growth, prevent challenges before they arise, and continue to set yourself apart as your client’s most trusted advisor.

Where do I find it?

When you log into a client’s company through QuickBooks Online Accountant, the Reports tab will appear at the top of the sidebar menu. Hover over the tab to see the secondary menu, and select Performance Center.

The Performance Center is also available for your own firm! Find it in the Overview tab in the Your Books section of QuickBooks Online Accountant.

How do I use it?

When it comes to client meetings, the Performance Center is your starting point for reviewing historical performance and crafting future goals. Take some time to explore and figure out which metrics and growth comparisons are most important for your client. When you log in for the first time, you’ll see some of the most commonly used reports already created for you. After you’ve familiarized yourself, follow the steps below to create your own chart.

Step 1: Decide what you want to track

The Performance Center provides you with 10 metrics to track that can be customized to meet your needs. To start, select +Add new chart for the metric you’d like to track, and then press continue.

Step 2. Customize its appearance

Once you select continue, you’ll be given a series of customizations to choose from. You can name your chart, choose how it is presented, such as in a trendline or pie chart, and select the time period to track (if relevant).

PRO TIP: While you’ll need to select a default timeframe, you can easily change the time period of a chart from the Performance Center dashboard.

Step 3: Group or filter your data by category

Want to see your revenue or other metric grouped by category, such as class, location, or customer? Use the Group by drop-down to break out your metric by category. You can use the Filter by drop-down to remove unwanted categories or drill down further.

Step 4: Compare results to past performance

To compare the results over different time periods, select Compare. Then, select Previous period or Previous year same period. For some charts, you can also compare against a budget or goal.

PRO TIP: Use the two drop-downs on the right to select the time interval and comparison. Selecting a “Current period” may change the available options in the “Compare to” option.

Step 5: Complete, review, and edit

Now that you’ve created your first chart, select Add to dashboard. It will now appear on your main dashboard to review. You can make changes at any time to your chart by selecting the vertical ellipsis and then selecting the Edit widget.

How do I benchmark my client’s performance against their industry peers?

The addition of industry benchmarks brings a new level of performance tracking to your accounting advisory efforts. By being able to compare their performance to peers in the same industry, location, and revenue range, you can further identify opportunity areas and enhance their growth trajectory.

Step 1: Set industry and location

If you haven’t already, you will need to input your client’s industry and location into QuickBooks. To do so, select the gear icon just below the +add new chart button. Next, type in your client’s industry. Once you begin typing, you’ll see a drop-down of similar industries to choose from. If not set, you’ll then be prompted to enter your company’s location. Once entered, QuickBooks will automatically calculate benchmarks based off of the selected industry and location, and your client’s revenue range. You can edit your industry at any time by selecting the gear icon.

PRO TIP: Can’t find the right industry? Check out the NAICS website to view a complete list of industries and sub-industries with definitions.

Step 2: Quick add a chart

Industry benchmarks are currently available for gross and net profit margin, and can be added to your dashboard by selecting Quick add charts, followed by either NPM vs. Industry benchmarks or NPM vs. Industry benchmarks. Once selected, the chart will be added to your dashboard. At this time, no additional customizations of the charts are available.

Note: Industry comparisons don’t appear if QuickBooks doesn’t have enough data yet for your client’s industry and location. Check again periodically as we gather more data. 

Sharing Performance Center with your client

Once you customize your Performance Center dashboard for your client’s specific needs, you’re ready to share it. Use the Performance Center as an opportunity to meet with your clients, show them how they are doing, and advise them on growth opportunities! Soon, we’ll be adding in export functionality, enabling you to download a PDF report that can be delivered to your client. In the interim, you can take a screenshot of the dashboard, or share your screen during your next client meeting.

Have a client that wants access to the Performance Center at their fingertips? Clients can access the Performance Center on-demand through QuickBooks Online Advanced. Find out more about QuickBooks Online Advanced and which clients it’s right for here.