What if.... Manager would have a graphical dashboard?

Hi there!

I love Manager and we are working 3 years from now. I have tried to recommend Manager to another people, but half of them don’t like numbers (there is nothing we can do about it).

The thing is, I have see how some people has chosen to start with another kind of software and other stuff that made the half of the work, but the decide just for their graphical dashboards like this:

So, the question is: Have you thought about making Manager more graphical?

Thanks!

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These graphical dashboards look good in marketing materials only where the test business is designed with data to make the dashboard beautiful. Once you apply this dashboard on real-life data, the layout will fall apart.

Consider the screenshot. You have Overdue Invoices & Bills section and it shows 1 invoice. But in reality, the bigger the business, the more overdue invoices. It would take a lot of screen estate to show all of them. And what’s the point really?

How about the right-hand side of the screenshot? Cash flow chart is completely useless. Each tick represents 1 month, the entire chart is 12 months. It won’t be changing much day to day. Not to mention, most businesses won’t have clear trend of inflows and outflows. There will be capital expenditures which will make outflows for certain months very high. Also most businesses won’t have Net Change as increasing trend even if they are successful because business owners tend to pay themselves profit during the year so there is no accumulating balance across business bank accounts etc.

The reason why Manager shows balance sheet and profit & loss statement on Summary screen is that it forces you to do the right thing by keeping your books in order. It forces you to constantly think about how to make improvements to your chart of accounts, how to make financial statements correctly represent your position and performance. And if there is something wrong, it forces you to discover bookkeeping errors much faster. It forces you to fix them because the software will make it painful to see them repeatedly etc.

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Maybe the dashboard shown on the example is not useful but it doesn’t mean that dashboard’s are not usefull. I understand that maybe it’s complicated to put in place but then maybe it would be a good idea to have the possibility to connect to the data with reporting tools, like Powerbi, and be able to make our own usefull dashboards. Don’t tell me that excel is a solution…not in 2020!

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We actually changed from Wave (as in example presented here) to Manager because the way you can see at a glance and work directly on balance sheet and profit and loss accounts is much more useful than looking at these graphics. It is interesting that Cashflow was presented here over a timeline as that indeed is something I miss. Not necessarily the graphics but the opportunity to have a report with a horizontal timeline that shows the cash flow. I raise this as for our day-to-day management decisions a historical cash flow perspective would help us with better decision making, which for me is the purpose of accounting, ie management decision-making first and facilitating tax and shareholder obligations second.

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Create reports with multiple comparative columns. Export the report to a spreadsheet and create your charts from there. You will have more flexibility than Manager could possibly hope to build in.

Ok will try this, good advice, thank you.

It works for a one time report but to produce recursive reports it gets very cumbersome. I experienced that after updates sometimes the way the report is presented change a bit and then you have to adjust all your formulas in the spreadsheet.

It involves a lot of manipulations and this is not good for reliability. The best approach is always to have your data in one place and be able to query that data. It’s a pain only to do some reporting for personal finance now imagine to run a business…

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I’m agree with @Jici, is complicated to export and then work in a EXCEL every time. In fact, that’s why I was looking to connect Manager with Zapier to take the data out. But it means a software development. If PowerBi or other tools of business intelligence could be connected it were perfect.

Agree with @eko that the balance is a good view for accountants, but is not enough for business owners. The timeline of cashflow would be perfect.

I wish that Manager becomes more open to connections. For example to have the ability to connect with PowerBi will solve the deal for many many people.

The main problem to get data from Manager is the login system it uses.

Power BI uses Plain Authentication which is used only by Manager old API which are useless for business intelligence.

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That is exactly right!

A new API would give a lot of opportunities for Manager. We are living an API era.

New API are there but they are accessible through web authentication. PowerBI can also inport HTML tables but the issue is the same.

I can see both sides of the argument. I agree with Lubos that many accounting programs create pretty graphs and charts that are actually useless in real day to use and just takes up a lot of space. In addition, the current summary page makes using profit and loss reports very familiar so easy to do month to month comparisons.

Where graphs excel however is in showing trends (which can’t be shown in tabular reports) and it makes sense to have a live feed of certain trends instead of having to create a static report every so often. I believe that eventually Manager will introduce some graphs and charts as even the developer recognises the need for graphs.

While I am looking to implement an API to my CRM system to allow my clients to view all their quotes and invoices as well as to help them budget I could actually expand this further to create graphs of things like cashflow or whatever.

I am not sure what you are talking about Manager needing a new API. The current api is quite simple to use and is comprehensive. As far as I am aware there are only two problems with it and that is issues surrounding authentication (I believe that you have to use the administrator account) and the issues with filtering - eg only show invoices by this client. So more code has to be written on the CRM side to support this.

There are currently two API.

The old one you can access adding /API to the URL and with Basic Authentication which gives you json data unusable for BI.

The new one you can access adding .json to the URL (but with form authentication not supported by most of the BI interfaces), which is not supported in all the pages, which provides useful and easy access data. This API is not yet implemented for example in Custom Reports.

PowerBI can also use HTML tables, so we don’t need API but just the implementation of the correct authentication way (Basic Authentication).

You can use Microsoft Power BI or Ms Excel, to access the API of Manager and create your custom and dynamic dashboards with live updates.

You have two ways of authenticating your access from powerBI and excel, you can eaither user ccustom method with authorization key an cookie or use basic authentication. Both these methods will only work on the level of yoursrver.manager.io/api.

Another thing JSON data can be read using PowerBI as well as Ms Excel, however, excel cannot read HTML.Table so you will have to index your object types manually.

Could you provide more details on how i could connect powerbi on the Manager database.

I never tried to connect via the API so i would only need the first steps of the process.

Thanks

In relation to manager and a graphical UI, meh, manager’s presentation is fine, if you want to extrapolate the data, do that, but manager itself is a great accounting tool, it’s not a visualisation tool in that way.

To @Jici’s request specifically, a quick search of the forums will reveal the following thread, check it out and continue that discussion there:

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