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Slide Makeover #84: Converting financial notation to visual indicators

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Financial presentations often include sections of spreadsheets copied from Excel. These include financial jargon and notations that confuse the audience. This makeover shows how to convert accounting notation to visual indicators the audience easily understands.

Slide Makeover #84: Converting financial notation to visual indicators

  1. 1. Slide Makeover #84: Converting financial notation to visual indicators Based on Dave Paradi’s ideas at www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com
  2. 2. When we are presenting the results of financial analysis, we often just copy a section of the spreadsheet onto the slide. Here is an example …
  3. 3. Employee cost analysis Description This year Budget Last Year vs. Budget vs. LY % vs. Budget % vs. LY Employee Comp. 3,942,941.76$ 4,520,199.60$ 4,468,126.31$ (577,257.84)$ (525,184.55)$ (12.8%) (11.8%) Benefits & Taxes 997,970.63$ 1,123,333.76$ 1,060,875.64$ (125,363.13)$ (62,905.01)$ (11.2%) (5.9%) Other Employee Costs 25,530.49$ 12,700.00$ 32,136.67$ 12,830.49$ (6,606.18)$ 101.0% (20.6%) Total Employee Costs 4,966,442.88$ 5,656,233.36$ 5,561,138.62$ (689,790.48)$ (594,695.74)$ (12.2%) (10.7%)
  4. 4. The message about how employee costs compare to the budget gets lost in the sea of numbers and the use of accounting notation. The first step is to write a headline and eliminate all the numbers that do not relate to the message.
  5. 5. Employee costs below budget due to unfilled vacancies Description % vs. Budget Employee Comp. (12.8%) Benefits & Taxes (11.2%) Other Employee Costs 101.0% Total Employee Costs (12.2%)
  6. 6. The second step is to replace financial notation or jargon with visual indicators. In my recent survey on financial presentations, audiences told me that they want visuals they can easily understand. It is often easiest to use symbols in the Wingdings 3 font. Click here to read an article on using these visual indicators. Click here to read the full 2016 State of Financial Presentations report.
  7. 7. Employee costs below budget due to unfilled vacancies Description % vs. Budget Employee Comp.  12.8% Benefits & Taxes  11.2% Other Employee Costs  101.0% Total Employee Costs  12.2%
  8. 8. The third step is to use color to indicate the meaning of the number. In general, green indicates good performance and red indicates poor performance.
  9. 9. Selecting the colors depends on the context of the numbers. In this case, since we are looking at expenses, a negative value (which was shown by the red and brackets originally) is a positive result, so it should be indicated with a green arrow.
  10. 10. Employee costs below budget due to unfilled vacancies Description % vs. Budget Employee Comp.  12.8% Benefits & Taxes  11.2% Other Employee Costs  101.0% Total Employee Costs  12.2%
  11. 11. Since the indicators are characters in a font, it is easy to just change the font color for those characters. This also makes it easy to build using animation if you use a text box instead of a table. Click here to watch a video on creating tables of numbers using a text box.
  12. 12. The final step is to add a callout to explain any important message or answer a question that the audience is likely to have. Adding callouts was another request of audiences in the recent survey on financial presentations. Click here to read the full 2016 State of Financial Presentations report.
  13. 13. Employee costs below budget due to unfilled vacancies Description % vs. Budget Employee Comp.  12.8% Benefits & Taxes  11.2% Other Employee Costs  101.0% Total Employee Costs  12.2% Legal costs due to overtime dispute
  14. 14. When you are presenting a table of numbers, use only the numbers that relate to your message, and use color coded visual indicators to help the audience understand the significance of the numbers.
  15. 15. Before After Lessons: 1. Write a headline that summarizes the message 2. Use only the numbers needed to communicate the message 3. Use colored visual indicators instead of accounting notation 4. Add callouts to explain numbers or answer questions Quick recap: More makeovers available at www.SlideMakeoverVideos.com
  16. 16. If you would like me to help your team create presentations that have a clear message with focused content and effective visuals, get in touch: P: 905-510-4911 E: Dave@ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com W: www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com

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