How to clearly present your company’s financial performance? I am pretty sure that this question creates a lot of frustrations and discussions for various controllers, thus this short blog will offer a quick guidance on the practicalities.
One of the typical controller’s tasks is to present to management the organization’s performance (financial and business wise). How does the finance manager go for the challenge? As a mini study-case, below I prepared two quick examples of monthly business reviews – which one do you think it is more impactful?:
Here are my top tips on creating highly appreciated management reviews:
1. Define a flow – with the stakeholders (e.g. with the internal customers – usually upper management)
2. Go visual – Choose the right form – e.g. line graphs for time series. In other words,
BCDA – be clear on your decided approach on communicating the numbers & the behind story.
3. Choose the informative refference point – not only Prior Year
4. Stay factual – link numbers to actual business realities
5. Explain structure in the intro and abbreviations in the appendix
6. Offer your professional opinion – present at least 2 potential actions for each major presentation point
Don’t be shy – as a controller, you are not only the numbers gate keeper, but also the trusted internal advisor. There is a reason why many Finance Manager jobs are named “Finance Business Partner”. You see many more trends and business numbers than most other colleagues – so give it a shot and suggest your informed follow up actions.
Several lateral points on the skills and to do’s as a valued controller:
A) Build continuously your soft communication skills – practice presentations and verbal abilities on every opportunity you have.
B) Do follow-ups with the stakeholders and make sure that deviations are addressed.
C) Last but not least… have a bit of fun and put a grain of creativity in your presentations. It will lighten up the atmosphere…
This is all for now, trying to KISS the topic. Should you have any comments or suggestions, please do share!