Communication in FP&A Pt 1 – The importance of Storytelling

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I’m a marketer, not an FP&A expert, so I can’t tell you much about your balance sheet or variable costs. But I can help you share your message and engage your managers using the most powerful weapon in marketing: Storytelling.

Beethoven was a storyteller. He was also, in a way, an accountant. Bear with me.

To orchestrate a beautiful symphony, Beethoven had to aggregate reams of instrument-specific notation, integrate complex auditory datasets, and convert winning harmonic formulae into a compelling storyline – less analytical folks might call this a melody.

Like Ludwig, you too can see truth and beauty in the science of a spreadsheet. Where you and Beethoven currently differ is in critical storytelling skills and overall pizazz.

This two-part series will highlight the rising importance of telling engaging stories in modern financial planning and analysis (FP&A). It will also offer some easy tips and tricks to help you effectively deliver your key analytical messages.

Why FP&A needs to tell stories

The ultimate purpose of financial planning and analysis is decision support. With the evolution of FP&A technology, leveraging your data into meaningful insights for your business means striking the proper balance between analytical depth and high-level storytelling.

As a modern FP&A professional, you must make your findings comprehensible for the movers and shakers (the Excel-averse non-accountants) within your business.

Do not fear or loathe a term like “storytelling”. It’s not pretentious, nor is it exclusively the domain of holier-than-thou “creative spirits”. Storytelling is a business tool. An essential skill. It should be a lever, employed to get the most out of your data insights.

Get the recognition your Finance team deserves

Good storytelling will not only illustrate the depth of your insight and analysis, it will also help you demonstrate your Finance team’s brilliance and hard work. Tell the story of your data and the story of its analysis. This will help you convince business leaders of Finance’s value in driving higher-level decision making.

Through two cyber-attacks and the pandemic, property valuation company Acumentis leveraged CALUMO’s easy and impressive reporting capabilities to keep its board and business partners updated and confident in results. A powerful business intelligence and corporate performance management tool like CALUMO can help you communicate better and consequently achieve better outcomes.

Storytelling is good for business!

Your Finance team is central to all other business functions. Accumulating, analysing, and importantly, explaining diverse and disparate data sets is crucial for holistic corporate performance. The more compelling and effective you can make the story of your data, the easier it will be for decision-makers to do their job.

Using a term like ‘storytelling’ in FP&A reporting is not naff or misguided. Technological advances and an evolving business landscape are growing the critical importance of FP&A for corporate performance, and you need your analysis to be understood.

Part two of this series gives practical, powerful, and easy-to-implement storytelling techniques to get the most out of your reporting.

To learn more about CALUMO’s reporting features and how they can help your FP&A storytelling, get in touch with us on +61 2 8985 7777 (AUS), +1 214 387 6030 (USA) or info@calumo.com.