How to present financial reports so everyone understands

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Do you know how well your board members and employees understand their finances? A common mistake when presenting the financial situation of your company is assuming that the level of knowledge is the same in all recipients. But if you do not adapt your presentation to the person listening, your message risks not getting through.

In this article, we give you tips on how to present your financial reports in a way that creates interest and is easy to understand.

Get to know the person who will listen

Find out as much as you can about your recipient. What is most interesting for the person who is going to listen? Customize your presentation based on your recipient’s interests and responsibilities and make sure it is relevant to the person who is going to listen. It is impossible to produce a financial report that is suitable for both employees, the board and investors. A good idea is to instead make more reports based on the same data and adapt to each target group.

Use words that your recipients understand

If you use terms and concepts that your recipient does not understand, you risk that the information does not reach and lands correctly. In other words, it is important to choose the right words, both in written and oral presentations.

As an economist and business leader, it’s easy to throw yourself with advanced terms and concepts, but remember to adapt your language in your financial report to your recipient’s prior knowledge.

Create context

Anyone who listens to your presentation and sees your financial report will be able to more easily absorb the key performance indicator analyses if they are presented together with a purpose and in a context.

Tell us what the numbers in your report mean. Show what they have looked like in the past, what development has taken place, where you are in the organization today and where you are going. It’s also good to explain why it looks the way it does and what effects it can have. Be clear and feel free to give practical examples.

By giving your numbers a clear context, you can create an understanding of the company’s financial situation for real, which in turn creates greater consensus and better decision-making.

Finished report in a minute!

Directly from your accounting

Have a clear introduction and structure

Write a good introduction and start your presentation by telling you what it will contain. Remember to be clear. You can be specific in what you say and, for example, tell us that you will go through the company’s results in Q1 divided into three months, or that the report will deep dive into key performance indicator analysis of five different key figures.

Use similar arrangements on all analyzes, it makes it easier for the recipient to keep up.

Make the financial report clear, even visually

It should be quick to understand what you are talking about, both in text and in images. Present conclusions in clear charts instead of tables. Make headlines and important numbers large and clear and avoid including too much text. When you present to external stakeholders, it also looks professional with a layout that is developed based on your company’s graphic profile. Together with an appealing design and well-thought-out typography, the financial report can be a pleasure to take part in.

Do you have access to a communicator? Use that skill set! Explain what you want to convey and get help to get it across.

Use universal tricks when presenting your financial reports

When presenting the financial report, the presentation you have produced should complement what you say, not speak for itself. Too much information on each slide, long paragraphs of text, and distracting animations can get the most glowing interest out of the extinction.

A common program for presentations is Powerpoint. But no matter which tool you choose, there are some universal tricks to use to get your message across:

  • The 10-20-30 rule
    The ultimate presentation includes 10 slides, takes 20 minutes, and has a size 30 on the font. Does that sound like a challenge? Staying short can be difficult, but if you do, your message will get across much better and your audience will be more attentive.

  • Own words of support
    Use single words, numbers and charts on your slides and have any supporting words somewhere where only you see them. Too much information on each slide can make your audience read the text ahead of time and lose interest faster.

  • Clear beginning and end
    Have a clear beginning and end to your presentation. This makes the recipient more engaged and can more easily grasp the content.

By bringing your numbers to life in clear contexts, you can create an understanding of the company’s financial situation for real. That understanding then paves the way for greater consensus and better decision-making.

With a well-thought-out design and typography, you can take your financial reports to a whole new level.

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