As an accountant, you know that providing your clients with accurate financial data is essential for making informed business decisions. However, just giving them data is not enough. Your clients need help understanding and using that data to gain valuable insights into their business operations.
The challenge is that most clients do not know how to use data effectively to find answers to their questions. This is where you come in. By presenting financial data as information, you can help your clients ask the right questions and make informed decisions that can propel their business forward.
Businesses today are facing complex financial and operational challenges that they have not previously encountered. They are in dire need of leveraging data to improve growth and need to have confidence in their ability to ask the right questions and find answers in the data hidden in spreadsheets.
To help clients understand and use financial data effectively, you must present it in a way that is easy to understand and compare. The DIKW pyramid provides a hierarchical model for decision-making that businesses can follow to turn data into wisdom. It starts with data, which is the foundation for a good business strategy. But raw data can be overwhelming, causing clients to become lost in rows and columns or ignore the data altogether.
By presenting data in a format that is easy to compare, use, and understand, you remove several hurdles that cause your client’s decision fatigue. This is where information comes in. Information is raw data that has context, and removing data from the cells of a spreadsheet and presenting it as a visual metric helps your clients see data in a way that helps them understand it.
Your clients will better appreciate and understand their financial statements when you display data as a visual story. Tuning data into consumable information is where you, as a financial professional, can differentiate yourself. Data and information are the bread and butter of the reports. When you present accurate data so clients can gain vital insights, you and your firm become an indispensable asset.
Knowledge is your client’s responsibility. It comes when the data and information you provide combine with your clients’ experience to create and develop frameworks, theories, and potential solutions for the problems or opportunities ahead of them.
Wisdom is the ultimate goal, but it can only come through an aware business person that understands the value of the data and information you provide. By providing the correct data in an informative way, you can offer more value. With the correct data displayed as consumable information, you can help your clients progress from data to wisdom, where a higher cognitive level of business strategy occurs.
In conclusion, when creating your reports, make sure you highlight data from your client’s spreadsheet into consumable bites that help turn vital financial data into knowledge. Be sure you utilize the metrics that showcase their data in a way that makes sense, allowing them to understand their performance and focus on things that matter to their business.
With the right approach to presenting financial data, you can help your clients make more informed business decisions and take their business to the next level. Consider utilizing tools such as Reach Reporting to automate the process and provide even more value to your clients. By doing so, you can help your clients turn data into wisdom, and in turn, make wise business decisions that can help their business thrive.