Presenting financial information

Whether you’re pitching your business to an investor, proposing a sponsorship to a donor or reporting financial results to regulators, you must know how to succinctly summarize complex financial data. Here are five tips:

1. Know your audience. Always start with a higher level overview, then base the rest of your presentation on your audience. More technical audiences, such as investors, may expect more detailed financial information. Less technical audiences, such as the general public, will only want major highlights.

2. Use visuals. More specifically, use pie charts to illustrate percentages or proportions. Use line graphs to illustrate financial trends.

3. Compare results. For example, you can compare your financial or operating results to a previous year, a forecast, or another organization in your industry or region. This provides context and aids in understanding.

4. Break down your information into digestible units. For example, if you are running a hospital, present dollars spent per patient; a school would present per pupil spending, etc. Businesses often do something similar to this when they present the cost of purchasing an item on a per day, per week or per month basis.

5. Don’t get too complicated. Focus on major takeaways – what you want the audience to remember.

Financial Planning and Review of Year End Reports

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