Editor’s note: NeuGroup’s online communities provide members a forum to pose questions and give answers. Talking Shop shares valuable insights from these exchanges, anonymously. Send us your responses: [email protected].
Context: FX dashboards are an extremely useful tool for treasury teams managing currency risk and shaping the narrative delivered to C-Suite executives about treasury’s ability to hedge the impact of FX rate swings. Well-designed dashboards—some using real-time data—allow risk managers to monitor exposures and dynamically illustrate cash flow, balance sheet and other important areas affected by FX volatility.
Julie-Zawacki-Lucci, leader of two NeuGroup for Foreign Exchange groups, said, “Across the NeuGroup Network, we have seen more and more treasury teams embracing internally built dashboards instead of relying on ‘out of the box’ solutions from treasury and risk management system and software providers.
- “This is partly because the growing use of data lakes and warehouses allows for tools such as Power BI and Tableau to pull critical information from large amounts of data instead of treasury teams pulling data from multiple sources to manually update spreadsheets.
- “The customization of dashboards allowed by data visualization tools provides treasury teams access to reports that make the most sense for their workflow, analyses and mandates from executives. Within the FX function in particular, the ability to quickly and efficiently examine hedge coverage ratios alongside market dynamics and various KPIs has elevated the role of the corporate FX professional.”
Member question. “We are looking into creating an FX dashboard either using an FX system or one of the tools like Tableau or Power BI to enhance data visualization and save the time taken to consolidate reports from multiple sources.
- “Does anyone in this group have an FX dashboard currently? Have you created one? Any insights will be highly appreciated.”
Peer answer 1: “I created and maintained an FX dashboard (with Tableau) with a previous employer. I found it was extremely useful in that:
- “You could make the dashboard interactive using filters, drop-downs, and ‘actions’ (where you click on a specific bar or line and the rest of that information filters automatically). This allowed two different end users, one who needs a high-level overview and another who wants to get in the weeds, to both find utility in the dashboard.
- “You could share a link that, once bookmarked by the user, allowed all interested parties to quickly reference back to the dashboard (as opposed to emailing an Excel-driven model with each new version).
“My advice with this route is to keep automation in mind throughout production, and how long it will take to update the dashboard as a finished product.
- “Will you need to use data from multiple sources or only one?
- “How can you map these data sources together if there are multiple? Using a published data source or, ideally, connecting straight to your accounting system if possible may save someone hours a week down the line vs. running an Excel report and manually updating the dashboard each time a new iteration is required.
- “I have seen dashboards set up for efficiency’s sake become more onerous than the original method of reporting when all is said and done for this reason.”
Member response: “Thanks a lot for the detailed information. We are also looking into Tableau; however, it may take a while for getting IT resources, as our intention is to pull data from multiple systems. Did you rely on IT resources when creating the dashboard?”
Peer 1 response: “Yes, I did. The IT department had one or two individuals in ‘Tableau admin’-type roles. I worked closely with them on connecting to live (published) data sources they had made available, as well as navigating the Tableau server they had created when publishing the finished dashboard. They were also the contacts for granting new end users with licenses that allowed them to view the dashboard once published.”
Peer answer 2: “We are currently in the process of building out some dashboards. We will be using Tableau for the data visualization and an internal data lake to source the data from various sources. Still in the development stage.”