How Do You Communicate Complex Financial Data to Non-Experts?


    How Do You Communicate Complex Financial Data to Non-Experts?

    To illuminate the art of demystifying intricate financial data for those less versed in the jargon, we've gathered insights starting with a CEO & Co-Founder's strategy of simplification and visualization. Alongside expert opinions, we've included additional answers that enrich the conversation with practical techniques. From the power of storytelling to animating data for clarity, discover a spectrum of methods that bridge the gap between financial experts and stakeholders.

    • Simplify Language and Use Visuals
    • Craft Interactive Financial Dashboards
    • Explain with Relatable Metaphors
    • Translate Jargon into Common Terms
    • Narrate Stories from Numbers
    • Animate Data for Clear Visualization

    Simplify Language and Use Visuals

    As the founder and finance expert at Leverage, I often have to explain complex financial data to stakeholders who aren't familiar with finance. One time, I worked with a tech startup's board of directors, which included mainly engineers and creative professionals.

    The company was considering a big investment in a new product line, and I needed to present a detailed financial analysis. To make it easier for everyone to understand, I did three things: simplified the language, used visual aids, and related the data to their specific concerns.

    First, I avoided complicated financial terms. Instead of talking about 'EBITDA margins' and 'capital expenditures,' I used simpler terms like 'profits before certain costs' and 'money needed for new equipment.'

    Second, I used charts and graphs to visualize the data. These visuals turned abstract numbers into clear trends and comparisons, making it easier to see the big picture.

    Third, I connected the financial data to their goals. I explained how the investment could increase market share and improve product competitiveness. I also discussed potential risks and how we planned to handle them.

    During the presentation, I encouraged questions and made sure to explain everything clearly. This approach helped the board feel more confident in understanding the financial details.

    In the end, they approved the investment, and the new product line was a success. At Leverage, we believe that clear communication is just as important as accurate financial analysis.

    Rhett Stubbendeck
    Rhett StubbendeckCEO & Co-Founder, Leverage Planning

    Craft Interactive Financial Dashboards

    Financial analysts can craft interactive dashboards that allow individuals to dig into the data through a hands-on approach. These platforms present complex information in a structured and dynamic manner, where users can filter and sort according to their needs. Interactive elements guide users toward a better understanding of financial concepts without overwhelming them with numbers and charts.

    Dashboards are designed to be user-friendly, ensuring that even those with minimal financial background can navigate the data. Seek out interactive tools for a more engaging and informative financial experience.

    Explain with Relatable Metaphors

    When dealing with complex financial data, professionals can draw parallels to common situations or objects familiar to the layman. By communicating through metaphors, they make the data relatable and much easier to grasp. For instance, comparing a company's cash flow to a water faucet helps to illustrate the concept of revenue streams in a simple and intuitive way.

    This method breaks down barriers of understanding by correlating intricate information with everyday experiences. Engage with financial analogies and see the bigger picture through a lens of common knowledge.

    Translate Jargon into Common Terms

    To communicate effectively, financial analysts translate technical jargon into simpler terms that everyone can understand. This involves replacing industry-specific terminology with commonly used words, making the complex data accessible to all. Think of it as interpreting a foreign language into your mother tongue; that's what analysts do with financial language.

    They ensure that non-experts are not alienated by the technical verbiage, which could otherwise hinder comprehension. Embrace plain language explanations to demystify the world of finance.

    Narrate Stories from Numbers

    Employing the art of storytelling, financial analysts can weave numerical data into compelling narratives that resonate with their audience. By framing statistics within a story, they infuse meaning into the figures, helping non-experts grasp the significance behind the numbers. Stories carry emotional weight, making the abstract data more concrete and memorable.

    Analysts construct stories to simplify financial outcomes and trends, making the information digestible. Dive into the stories behind the numbers and connect with the human element of financial data.

    Animate Data for Clear Visualization

    Analysts can animate data to simplify complex trends, allowing viewers to observe changes over time through clear and engaging visuals. Animation brings life to the data, displaying growth, decline, or cyclic patterns in a format that's easy to digest. It converts intimidating columns of numbers into a cinematic experience, demonstrating the flow and progress of financial metrics.

    By simplifying data interpretation in this way, the usually daunting financial information becomes less intimidating. Discover animated data to visualize financial concepts with ease.