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Storytelling

How to Prepare Your Financial Presentation

Preparing an effective financial presentation is essential for conveying financial information, highlighting key insights, and influencing decision-making.

No matter, if you are presenting to the board of directors, investors, or stakeholders, mastering the art of financial presentation, anyways it is crucial.

Learn the steps to master for a successful presentation and start creating high-quality financial presentations!

Importance of Financial Presentation for Storytelling

Financial presentations go beyond numbers and data; they are an opportunity to tell a compelling story that engages and informs your audience.

By effectively presenting financial information, you can paint a clear picture of your company’s financial health, growth prospects, and investment opportunities.

Moreover, here’s why financial presentation plays a vital role in storytelling:

  • Engaging your audience: A well-crafted financial presentation captures the attention of your audience and keeps them engaged throughout the session. Also, by using storytelling techniques, you can create a narrative that resonates with your listeners and helps them connect emotionally with the financial data.
  • Providing context: Financial data alone may be overwhelming for some audience members. A financial presentation allows you to provide context, explain the significance of the numbers, identify trends, and highlight key insights. Furthermore, this context enables your audience to understand the story behind the data.
  • Supporting decision-making: Effective financial presentations help decision-makers grasp the implications of financial information and make informed choices. By presenting data in a clear and meaningful way, you empower your audience to evaluate risks, assess opportunities, and align their decisions with strategic goals.

Steps to Master for Financial Presentation

Here are the steps to deliver an extraordinary financial presentation:

#1 Step: Gather Your Financial Data

Begin by collecting all the necessary financial information to create a comprehensive presentation.

This includes financial statements such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

Additionally, gather any supporting documents such as financial projections or budgets that provide additional context and insights.

#2 Step: Analyze The Data

Take a deep dive into the financial data and analyze it thoroughly.

First, identify key patterns, trends, and anomalies.

Then, consider how the financial information may impact the company’s future and identify the most critical points to emphasize in your presentation.

#3 Step: Create An Outline

Organize your presentation by creating a clear and logical outline.

Start with an introduction that sets the stage and presents the purpose of your presentation.

Afterward, outline the main points you want to address and establish a coherent flow of ideas.

Consequently, consider the sequence in which you want to present the information to ensure a smooth and logical progression.

#4 Step: Create Your Presentation

Using your outline as a guide, develop your financial presentation.

Incorporate visuals such as charts, graphs, and infographics to enhance clarity and illustrate key points effectively.

Additionally, use concise and impactful language, focusing on the most critical information.

Lastly, remember to strike a balance between providing sufficient detail and avoiding overwhelming the audience with excessive data.

#5 Step: Practice

Practice is key to delivering a confident and polished presentation.

Therefore, rehearse your presentation multiple times, focusing on your delivery, timing, and overall flow.

Also, pay attention to your tone of voice, physical expressions, and non-verbal cues.

Consider seeking feedback from a colleague or mentor to fine-tune your presentation and gain valuable insights.

#6 Step: Present

On the day of the presentation, approach it with confidence and poise.

Engage your audience, maintain eye contact, and deliver your message with clarity and conviction.

In addition, address any questions that arise during the presentation promptly and concisely.

Remember, effective communication extends beyond the slides; your delivery and ability to connect with your audience are equally important.

#7 Step: Answer Questions

During the presentation, be prepared to answer any questions the board or audience may have.

Moreover, actively listen to the questions, respond thoughtfully, and provide additional clarification if needed.

This interaction demonstrates your expertise and builds trust with your audience.

#8: Step: After the Presentation

After your presentation concludes, follow up on any action items or discussions that arose during the session.

Finally, stay proactive in providing updates on the financial information you presented, ensuring the board or relevant stakeholders are informed of any changes or developments.

Final Words – Knowledge Is Nothing without Presentation

Preparing a successful financial presentation requires careful planning, attention to detail, and effective storytelling techniques.

By capturing your audience’s attention, providing context, and supporting decision-making, a well-crafted financial presentation can make a lasting impact.

Mastering the steps of gathering data, analyzing it, creating an outline, designing the presentation, practicing, delivering confidently, and addressing questions enables you to deliver compelling financial presentations that drive understanding and facilitate informed decision-making.

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Key Takeaways

  • Engage your audience and tell a compelling story through your financial presentation.
  • Provide context to help your audience understand the significance of the financial data.
  • Support decision-making by presenting data in a clear and meaningful way.
  • Practice your presentation to enhance your delivery and build confidence.
  • Follow up after the presentation to address any action items and keep stakeholders informed.

Financial storytelling is a powerful tool that enables finance professionals to communicate their findings, analysis, and recommendations to their clients, executives, or other stakeholders.

It’s a way of presenting complex financial data in a way that’s understandable and engaging to the audience.

Financial storytelling involves creating a narrative around the data to illustrate the key points and make a compelling case.

Why Is Financial Storytelling Important?

Financial storytelling is essential because it helps to make sense of the vast amount of financial data and information that’s available. It can help to provide context, clarify the key points, and make recommendations that are based on the data.

It can also help to build trust and credibility with clients and stakeholders, as it shows that the financial professional understands the information and can communicate it effectively.

Moreover, in today’s digital age, financial information is widely available, and clients are increasingly demanding more than just facts and figures. They want to understand how the information impacts their business or personal goals, and financial storytelling is an effective way of doing that.

By crafting a story around the data, finance professionals can help clients understand the relevance and implications of the information.

The Phases of Financial Storytelling

Here are the phases and steps you need to follow in order to be efficient in your financial storytelling.

Define Your Audience

The first step in financial storytelling is to define your audience. Who are you presenting to, and what do they need to know? Understanding your audience will help you tailor your message to their needs and make it more engaging.

For example, if you’re presenting to executives, you may need to focus on the high-level implications of the data, whereas if you’re presenting to investors, you may need to provide more detailed information.

Identify The Key Points

Once you know your audience, you need to identify the key points that you want to communicate. These should be the most important findings, recommendations, or insights from your analysis.

It’s important to focus on the most critical data and avoid overwhelming the audience with too much information.

Create A Narrative

Once you have identified the key points, you need to create a narrative that ties them together. This can be a story or a logical sequence of events that leads to your recommendations.

The narrative should be engaging and easy to follow, and it should help the audience understand the context and relevance of the data.

To create an effective narrative, you should consider the following:

  • Start with a clear introduction that sets the scene and provides context for the data.
  • Identify the key challenges or opportunities that the data presents.
  • Develop a story that connects the data to the challenges or opportunities and leads to your recommendations.
  • Use anecdotes or examples to illustrate your points and make the narrative more relatable.
  • Keep the narrative concise and focused on the key points.

Use Data Visualization

Data visualization is an essential tool in financial storytelling. It can help to illustrate your points and make the data more accessible and engaging. Use charts, graphs, and other visual aids to present your data in a way that’s easy to understand.

However, it’s important to use data visualization judiciously and avoid overwhelming the audience with too many charts or graphs.

To use data visualization effectively, you should consider the following:

  • Choose the most appropriate visualization for the data you’re presenting.
  • Ensure that the visualization is easy to read and understand.
  • Use color and other design elements to highlight key points or trends.
  • Avoid clutter and unnecessary detail.
  • Use labels and captions to provide context and explain the data.

Practice

Practice is critical in financial storytelling. Rehearse your presentation, and get feedback from others to refine your message and delivery. Pay attention to your tone of voice, body language, and pacing. Use a timer to ensure that you’re staying within the allotted time frame.

Practicing will help you feel more confident and prepared, and it will also help you identify areas where you need to improve.

Review and Refine

After you’ve practiced your presentation, review it and refine it. Look for areas where you can simplify your message or make it more engaging.

Consider feedback from others, and be willing to make changes if necessary.

Deliver with Confidence

Finally, when it’s time to deliver your presentation, be confident and engaging. Use your narrative and data visualization to illustrate your key points and make a compelling case. Pay attention to your audience’s reactions, and be willing to adjust your presentation if necessary.

How Can You Improve in Each Phase of Financial Storytelling

  • Defining your audience: Ask questions and gather information about your audience beforehand to tailor your message to their needs.
  • Identifying key points: Focus on the most important findings, recommendations, or insights from your analysis, and avoid overwhelming the audience with too much information.
  • Creating a narrative: Use storytelling techniques to make your message more engaging and easy to follow. Consider using anecdotes or examples to illustrate your points.
  • Using data visualization: Choose the most appropriate visualization for the data, and ensure that it’s easy to read and understand. Avoid clutter and unnecessary detail.
  • Practicing: Rehearse your presentation, get feedback from others, and use a timer to ensure that you’re staying within the allotted time frame.
  • Reviewing and refining: Look for areas where you can simplify your message or make it more engaging. Consider feedback from others, and be willing to make changes if necessary.
  • Delivering with confidence: Use your narrative and data visualization to make a compelling case. Pay attention to your audience’s reactions, and be willing to adjust your presentation if necessary.

Additionally, here are some examples of financial storytelling:

  1. Using data visualization to illustrate the impact of a new product launch on revenue and profitability.
  2. Telling a story about how a company’s financial performance improved after implementing cost-cutting measures.
  3. Using storytelling techniques to explain the key drivers of a company’s growth and the potential risks or challenges it faces.
  4. Using data visualization to show the impact of a merger or acquisition on financial performance.
  5. Telling a story about how a company’s financial performance was impacted by a significant market event or economic downturn.

The Bottom Line – Finance Storytelling is The Key to Communicate Your Results

Financial storytelling is an essential tool for finance professionals to communicate their findings, analysis, and recommendations to clients, executives, or other stakeholders.

Therefore, by crafting a narrative around the data and using data visualization, finance professionals can make complex financial information more accessible and engaging.

The process of financial storytelling involves defining your audience, identifying key points, creating a narrative, using data visualization, practicing, reviewing and refining, and delivering with confidence.

However, with practice and refinement, financial professionals can improve their financial storytelling skills and effectively communicate their insights and recommendations.

Finally,  if you want to become an expert at financial storytelling and master your skills in finance, you can take my course and join the group of successful finance professionals!

Why is data storytelling in finance important?

Finance spends a great deal of time each month compiling data from numerous spreadsheets and source systems.

Also, finance must provide answers to queries about the company at both the macro and micro levels. Whether it’s to prepare for a board meeting or finish the month-end closure procedure.

What Is Data Storytelling in Finance?

Creating a narrative around the business allows you to explain the “why” behind your figures through storytelling.

Therefore, understanding what matters to the business deeply and putting data in place to measure it are the actual starting points for data storytelling in finance.

When you want to build your story, having a proper system capturing the data and having the data structured and constantly updated will allow you to concentrate on the analysis and insights.

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The Value of A Data Story

Data stories are significant for the following reasons:

  • Stories stick in the mind
  • Stories appeal to our senses
  • The emotional impact of stories
  • Stories inspire us to take action
  • Accounting and financial professionals need more than just data they own and report
  • Finance must be able to communicate the numbers to the company in an understandable manner
  • Analysis and problem-solving should not be the whole of a finance professional’s career. Instead, they should be able to communicate complicated data in straightforward and persuasive ways.

Data Story Levers

  • Explore
  • Explain
  • Inspire

Elements

  • Data
  • Narrative
  • Visuals

How to Get Better at Data Storytelling in Finance?

Almost every financetask, from preparing your board deck with the right kpis (like these 1o SaaS Kpis) to regular operational chores like the month-end close, involves financial storytelling.

Therefore, you must possess the information and abilities necessary to convey the whole financial picture of your organization. These seven techniques can help you develop your financial storytelling abilities.

Storytelling Techniques in Finance

#1: Submit the Correct Questions

The finest review you can receive from a meeting of the board is, “You anticipated our questions!” In other words, you can predict the topics they’ll regularly focus on by comprehending the questions they ask over time.

What financial measures are important to them? What message are these indicators actually giving us? Do we need to change our concerns? By asking yourself these questions, you may develop presentations full of “a-ha” moments that lead to an interesting narrative.

Expert tip: Create a Question Database

  1. Compile a list of frequently asked questions from previous meetings.
  2. Regularly update this list with new questions.
  3. Use this database to predict and prepare answers for future presentations.

#2: Practice Your Lines

Your ability to convey a story requires more than simply a strong presentation deck. Additionally, you can channel that excitement into your voice and tone by being aware of where your punchlines are—the statistics and significant victories that thrill your audience.

Furthermore,  you may be asked about metrics for the sales funnel, headcount planning, or balance sheet forecasts; in each case, you must comprehend the statistics and the “whys” behind them.

Expert tip: Rehearse with Feedback

  1. Schedule practice sessions where you present to a small group of colleagues.
  2. Ask for specific feedback on your delivery, clarity, and data points.
  3. Record your practice sessions to identify areas for improvement.

#3: Keep Your Consistency

Storytelling’s worth rests in continuing into the next stage of development. Yet, clear difficulties and answers are shown in effective stories. Moreover, board members want to hear how you overcame obstacles and what you have planned for the future since they don’t intend for you to be stagnant.

Expert tip: Use a Presentation Template

  1. Develop a standardized template for your presentations.
  2. Include sections for context, challenges, solutions, and future plans.
  3. Ensure each presentation follows this structure to maintain consistency.

#4: Prepare Your Data Infrastructure

Your data is only as useful as your capacity to timely gather, combine, and display it to provide users with the insights they require.

Scaling financial storytelling will also be simpler the sooner your data architecture is in good condition. However, there isn’t a single best technique to create a financial information infrastructure. Yet, if you approach it as a framework for FP&A, you’ll be able to gather data from throughout the organization and provide everyone with up-to-the-minute information.

Expert tip: Implement Automation Tools

  1. Identify repetitive data tasks that can be automated.
  2. Invest in automation tools like Power Automate or Power Query that integrate with your data systems.
  3. Regularly review and optimize these tools to ensure efficient data management.

#5: Address Any Modifications To The Numbers

Metrics and KPIs are what you rely on to show growth patterns, but they can shift at any time for any cause. Furthermore, you develop confidence and transparency for your company’s development story when you can articulate and take responsibility for the “why” these critical markers are declining.

You want to make the numbers visible to management and leadership. Also, finance might sometimes turn data into complex Excel formulas, but that creates a silo where it is impossible to communicate the narrative or concentrate on why statistics are moving.
Make sure you work with your division leaders to develop a few viable solutions to deploy throughout the upcoming quarter, particularly if the figures are worsening.

Expert tip: Develop a Metrics Review Process

  1. Set up a regular schedule for reviewing key metrics and KPIs.
  2. Create a standard report format to explain changes in the numbers.
  3. Hold review meetings with department heads to discuss and address these changes.

#6: Have A Mindset of Customer Service

Consider your colleagues as your clients and put them first. This is one of the top CFO traits finance teams may adopt. You can concentrate on working with each department to make sure they get the information they need to make the best decisions by having a customer service attitude.

Expert tip: Establish Regular Check-Ins

  1. Schedule monthly check-in meetings with each department.
  2. Use these meetings to understand their data needs and challenges.
  3. Provide tailored financial insights and solutions based on their feedback.

#7: Improve Your Technology Stack

You may connect with and delve more deeply into your everyday financial duties thanks to the CFO software stack. Therefore, to guarantee ease of use rather than having to go between your primary systems of record for data, you must make your technology stack as fluid as feasible.

In order to do this, you must reduce the number of tools you need to consult. Longer review cycles caused by more technologies restrict finance from looking ahead to more effective growth strategies.

Tip: Conduct Quarterly Tech Reviews

  1. Review your technology stack every quarter to identify any gaps or inefficiencies.
  2. Research and trial new tools that could improve your data processes.
  3. Train your team on any new tools to ensure smooth integration and usage.

Conclusion – Data Storytelling in Finance

Communication of data-driven insights relies on your capacity to develop a story but also to put all the processes around it to optimize the creation of the story.

Have always the end in mind when you set up your data processes and think how you will be able to use them to create your story!

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FAQ

Q: What is data storytelling in finance?

A: Data storytelling in finance involves creating a narrative around financial data to explain the “why” behind the numbers. It combines financial metrics, narrative, and visuals to make complex data more accessible and engaging for stakeholders.

Q: How does data storytelling benefit financial reporting?

A: Data storytelling enhances financial reporting by providing context and narrative to the numbers, making reports more comprehensive and engaging. This approach helps stakeholders understand the broader implications of financial data, supporting better decision-making.

Q: What are the key components of an effective data story in finance?

A: An effective data story in finance includes clear data presentation, a compelling narrative, and engaging visuals. These elements work together to make complex financial information more understandable and impactful.

Q: How can financial professionals improve their data storytelling skills?

A: Financial professionals can improve their data storytelling skills by practicing key techniques such as anticipating questions, rehearsing presentations, maintaining consistency, optimizing data infrastructure, addressing metric changes, adopting a customer service mindset, and regularly reviewing their technology stack. These actions enhance the ability to communicate financial data effectively and engage stakeholders.

Q: Why is data storytelling important for financial professionals?

A: Data storytelling helps financial professionals communicate complex data in a clear and persuasive manner, aiding strategic decision-making. It transforms raw numbers into compelling stories that highlight key insights and trends.

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