Understanding the Simple Business Dashboard

Overview

The Simple Business dashboard by Tiller Labs allows you to quickly gain insights on how your business is performing. Understand your cash flow, income versus expense, income by category group, and expenses by category group all based on a customizable time ranges with readily-available presets.

The dashboard also gives you an at a glance account balance information as well as summary income & expense reporting.

Dashboard Sections

The dashboard comprises six discrete zones:

  • Quick income/expense summary (left top)
  • Account balances (left bottom)
  • Income/expense or inflow/outflow vs. time (center top)
  • Income by category group (center bottom)
  • Category or group focus vs. time (right top)
  • Expense by category group (right bottom)

Quick Income/Expense Summary

The quick income/expense summary is located in the top-left corner of the dashboard. This summary is reported based on the reporting period selected just above the account balances section.

Uncategorized Transactions Alert

If you have uncategorized transactions for the period selected below the cash flow calculation you’ll see a red bar indicating how many transactions and their total are waiting to be categorized. Categorizing transactions is key to an accurate financial picture.

Income and Expense

The income and expense chart shows you your income vs expense totals over the selected time period. Configure the time period below the cash flow calculation. You won’t see any data here until you categorize transactions that occurred during the selected time period.

Cash Flow

The cash flow calculation is your income minus your expenses based on the time range selected in the dropdown below the cash flow amount. It’s the numeric difference between the two graphed income and expense values above it.

Account Balances

Current account balances are displayed list in the sidebar’s bottom-left corner. This data is pulled from the Accounts and Transactions sheets. This section is the only section without its own dropdown period selector.

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Two balances are shown for each account— Tiller and Bank.

Bank Balance

The Bank balance is the last available balance for the account from the Accounts sheet.

Tiller Balance

The Tiller balance is calculated based on the latest balance history entry for the account and also any uncleared/manual transactions you may have manually entered that are waiting to be reconciled. If your spreadsheet does not include any unreconciled manual transactions, the Tiller balance is not shown.

Income/Expense or Inflow/Outflow vs. Time

In the center top, this chart compares inflows vs. outflows (only looking at the sign of the transaction amount) on a month-by-month basis for “All Transactions” over your selected time range.

If you switch the filter setting to “Categorized Income & Expenses” you will only see data once you have categorized some transactions that occurred during the selected time range. (Uncategorized transactions are not shown when the filter is set to “Categorized Income & Expenses”.)

How to Use It

  1. Configure the time range using the dropdown option below the chart to change the data set that’s graphed in the chart. If you choose “Custom”, editable start and end date options will appear.
  2. Configure the filter by choosing All Transactions, which only looks at the amount data, or Categorized Income & Expenses, which charts the data based on how you’ve categorized it (income and expense only) on the Transactions sheet.

Income By Category Group

In the center bottom, the Income By Category Group pie chart shows where your income is coming from within the selected time range. This chart really comes alive if you have income from multiple sources (clients, stores, etc) and you leverage category groups to organize key income categories.

How to Use It

  1. Refine the income categories for your business on the Categories sheet.
  2. Organize income categories into groups like “Investments”, “Revenue”, “Acquisition” on the Categories sheet.
  3. Categorize income transactions.
  4. Configure the time range using the dropdown option below the chart on the dashboard to update the data that’s included in the chart.
  5. The Total $ field in the upper right shows the total value of the income pie within the selected time range.

Category or Group Focus vs. Time

In the upper right, the Category or Group Focus chart is a powerful tool for zooming in on certain financial aspects of your business.

How to Use It

  1. As with the Income vs. Expense chart, you can choose either a time range preset or specify a “Custom” time range. Category Focus includes a powerful filtering capability to show month by month transactions filtered by:
  2. Configure the data rollup by selecting a Filter.

The Filter dropdown offers the following options:

  • By “All”, “All Categorized” or “All Uncategorized”: these options are useful for cashflow analysis and also to see how many transactions have not yet been categorized.
  • By Income: show any single income category.
  • By Expense: show any single expense category.
  • By Group: show all transactions within a category group.

Expense by Category Group

In the lower right, the Expense by Category Group chart is useful understanding your relative spend across key expense category groups for the selected time range.

How to Use It

  1. Refine the expense categories for your business on the Categories sheet.
  2. Organize expense categories into groups like “Overhead”, “Payroll”, “Professional Services”, “Travel” on the Categories sheet.
  3. Categorize expense transactions.
  4. Configure the time range using the dropdown option below the chart on the Dashboard to update the data that’s included in the chart.
  5. The Total $ field in the upper right shows the total value of the expense pie within the selected time range.

Business Solution History

Tiller originally released the Simple Business dashboard in the summer of 2018 as part of an integrated small-business offering in the Tiller add-on. This original small-business offering required an install process to implement a number of modifications to a user’s spreadsheet in order to realize a diverse set of functions for business users including:

  • The business dashboard
  • Report generation (including P&L, category detail & category rollup reports) workflows
  • Manual transaction creation & reconciliation workflows
  • Bank statement reconciliation workflow
  • Business “setup”/configuration sheet for ready-access to business assets & information
  • Business-friendly income & expense categories

In the year and a half since the original release, we have realized a few things:

  • Many of the “business” functions— like manual transactions & bank statements— are broadly useful (i.e. beyond exclusively business applications)
  • The Tiller Labs add-on is a more capable, readily-accessed & centralized home for discovery, use, maintenance of these features

So, we have reconceived the small-business offering.

It is no longer an integrated suite installed and accessed via the Tiller add-on. It has become a collection of a-la-carte solutions and workflows available via the Tiller Labs add-on to both business and non-business users.

Troubleshooting

If you have a question or need help first search the community to see if someone has already asked and if not click here to quickly post a question about this template in the Get Help > Spreadsheet templates category.

Be sure to customize the title of your post with keywords about the issue or question so others can easily find the Q&A in search.

@randy

Nice work.

I just installed the add-on and have a few comments:

  1. On the left side, I only have a Bank column, no Tiller column.
  2. I had an error in the Income By Category Group. There was a formula somewhere around cell AG5 to AG15 that I needed to delete to fix. Not sure if this will affect everyone or whether it was just me.
  3. The Setup tab does not work with Tiller Labs, only Tiller. I notice it here on the Simple Dashboard but recently noticed it on the P&L Report tool also. Maybe you already know this, not sure.
  4. When I click on some of the pie pieces in the pie charts, sometimes the dollar amount is carried out about 10-15 decimal places. I looked into this before and concluded it was more difficult to fix than I thought so I ended up giving up. But you guys are way smarter than me.
  5. Thanks for fixing the design flaw that existed in the Tiller add-on version of the Cash Flow section in the upper left corner of the tab. The Tiller version would not recognize in that expense chart or calculation any negative expenses coded on the Transactions tab which forced me to use a lot of transfer categories as a work around.
  6. OK to delete the old dashboard tab now that I have the new one, right?

Blake

Responding to your enumerated points…

  1. I designed the Tiller account balance column to hide itself if it matched the latest balances from the bank feeds. If you were to add a manual, unreconciled transaction (to any of your accounts) via the workflow in the Tiller Labs add-on, you should see the Tiller account column appear. The idea is to show current account balances as your bank sees them next to balances offset by unposted transactions per your Tiller Transactions sheet.
  2. Great catch. I found a stray formula in AG10 that was blocking the ARRAYFORMULA() that superseded the in-cell calculations. I updated the master and updated the version of the solution.
  3. To reduce dependencies and sheet proliferation, I decided to remove the Setup-sheet functionality from the refreshed business suite architecture. There is really no magic in the Setup sheet other than a centralized place to store information used by your business. Since you have the sheet, you can still manually wire your dashboards and (hidden) report templates :wink: back to your legacy Setup sheet (e.g. for logos and addresses)… Just be aware that you’ll need to rebuild those links if you do a dashboard restore or upgrade.
  4. I’m not seeing this issue on my personal sheet… and I’m not sure how to fix it. I removed all decimals from the formatting in the hidden cells that feed those charts in the master (in version 2.01). Not sure if this will do the trick. If it doesn’t work and you find an answer, let me know.
  5. Glad to hear that is fixed.
  6. I think so. The new version is intended as a more-stable & improved replacement and I don’t think there is any functionality you’d lose by deleting.

Be sure to check out the group reporting in the upper right focus chart. That’s a cool new feature.

Thanks for the quick and detailed feedback, @blake.
Happy New Year!
Randy

P.S. The new business dashboard won’t recognize manual transactions added via the older Tiller add-on. I haven’t documented how to migrate those yet as I’m behind on all of the manual-transaction workflow documentation. Hoping to get to that soon.

1 Like

Hi, I am new to Tiller and just getting my accounts set up and categorized. I have added some manual transactions using the Labs add-on. For an upcoming credit card payment, I have added 2 transfer transactions - one for the credit card and one for the checking account that the bill will be paid from.

On the Simple Business Dashboard, in the Account Balances section in the lower left, the Asset sections show good numbers for the Tiller and Bank balances. The Liability section is showing correct numbers for the Bank balance but not the Tiller balance.

For an example, my credit card bill balance is $422. I have an upcoming scheduled payment of $105 for it. The checking account in the asset section has a $105 lower Tiller balance than the bank balance (which is correct). The credit card balance in the liability section has a Tiller balance of $527 (which is incorrect - it should be $317), the bank balance is $422.

In the transactions sheet, my bank account transaction is a negative number and the corresponding credit card transaction number is a positive number, and both are categorized as transfers. These are still manual transactions that have been flagged for future reconciliation.

Please let me know if I have misunderstood how to use the manual transactions. Thank you.

@randy @martha.rudkin

Martha - You are doing everything correct. The manual transaction presents correctly on the Transactions tab.

The only thing that makes sense is that there has to be a formula error on the Dashboard in that lower left section (527 is 105 more than 422 while 317 is 105 lower than 422). There is a plus where there should be a minus or there is a minus where there should be a plus). I suspect the whole Liability section is affected.

Randy - Please let us both know.

Thanks,

Blake

Thanks for your answers Blake. They are very helpful.

Great catch, @blake and @martha.rudkin!
This is definitely a formula bug. I think the Tiller balance needs to invert the manual transaction polarity depending on the account type. I hope to publish a fix in the next few days.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

Randy

Quick update,@blake and @martha.rudkin…
I just updated the formula in the master template. Please use the Manage Solutions pane in the Tiller Labs add-on to update your sheets to version 2.02.

Thanks again for your diligence in finding this bug.
Randy

Thank you Randy! All my account balances (bank and Tiller) are shown correctly. I appreciate the fast responses to my questions.

Happy to help, @martha.rudkin.

Randy