Human beings are built to understand visual data. Some estimates say almost half the human brain is devoted directly or indirectly to processing visual information. Over millions of years of evolution, this ability has helped us to understand, survive and shape our world.
We have no evolved ability to understand spreadsheets. And yet, all too often when we try to communicate financial data, this is the form in which we share it.
In our latest expansion on the themes from FSN’s annual report on planning, budgeting and forecasting (available now from future-of-finance.com), we look at the visualisation of data – one of the critical components for ‘insightful’ forecasts.
We find that translating data into more visual forms helps not only with the production and manipulation of forecasts, but in their communication to the rest of the organisation. After all, insight has no value if it cannot be shared.
This links strongly to our previous paper, focusing on the need for greater collaboration between finance and the rest of the organisation. Poor communication is one of the barriers to better collaboration. Improving the tools used to communicate financial information could dramatically improve inter-departmental communication.
Together these two factors – collaboration and visualisation – represent the key steps towards producing more insightful forecasts. Download the papers now to find out why, and how your organisation can improve its planning, budgeting and forecasting.