skip to main content
X

“Go Ahead. Make Me Care”: Turn Data Into Story

March 22, 2024

Spreadsheets and tables rarely move people. Sure, important decisions might flow from a quarterly report’s bottom line. But to move people? That’s a higher standard. In a survey of your peers, “improving finance metrics, insights and storytelling” ranks third among top CFO priorities for 2024.

Narrative Beyond Visualization

Data visualization is one part of storytelling. Yes, finance leaders must understand how to relay KPI data with graphics, refrain from too much detail, and sequence the data. But engaging with story – which increases brain activity fivefold – adds meaning and answers the question, “Why should I care?” Narrative will usher your audience through the data (think: beginning-middle-end) and invite beating-heart people to understand what matters and why. This is especially critical in calls-to-action or to facilitate high-level decisions.

Where to start? Determine what question you seek to answer, identify relevant data sources and collection, know your audience and what will draw folks in from your opening sentence, develop data visualization (simple charts, graphs, etc.) customized for your audience, construct a written or spoken story that connects the visuals, and practice telling that story before delivering it. Ready for your biz card to read, “CFO (aka Chief Data Storyteller)”?

“The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.”
– Jonathan Haidt, Professor of Ethical Leadership, New York University Stern School of Business

Want more Making Cents?

Join our distribution list!

Hide Firm Disclaimer

©2024 UHY LLP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

UHY LLP is a licensed independent CPA firm that performs attest services in an alternative practice structure with UHY Advisors, Inc., and its subsidiary entities. UHY Advisors, Inc.’s subsidiaries, including UHY Consulting, Inc., provide tax and business consulting services through wholly owned subsidiary entities that operate under the name of “UHY Advisors” and “UHY Consulting”. UHY Advisors, Inc., and its subsidiary entities are not licensed CPA firms. UHY LLP, UHY Advisors, Inc. and UHY Consulting are U.S. members of Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, a UK company, and form part of the international UHY network of legally independent accounting and consulting firms. “UHY” is the brand name for the UHY international network. Any services described herein are provided by UHY LLP, UHY Advisors and/or UHY Consulting (as the case may be) and not by UHY or any other member firm of UHY. Neither UHY nor any member of UHY has any liability for services provided by other members.

On this website, (i) the term "our firm", "we" and terms of similar import, denote the alternative practice structure conducted by UHY LLP and UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities, and (ii) the term "UHYI" denotes the UHY international network, in each case as more fully described in the preceding paragraph.