Five Tips for Explaining Financial Concepts to Non-Financial Managers

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Every industry and profession has its own unique terms and acronyms. Plus, when it comes to accounting and finance, numbers often speak volumes to them even if they leave non-financial managers glassy-eyed.

Learning to explain financial concepts to managers who work in other fields is essential if you want to excel. If you aren’t sure how to begin, here are five tips you can start using today.

1. Know Your Audience

Finance and accounting professionals are often all about the numbers. However, your audience may not be as enticed when it comes to this kind of information, so learning to gauge how much needs to be shared is vital.

Similarly, you need to recognize what core message is actually important to the listener. Are they worried about whether everything is on track? Is knowing what next steps will provide the most value a priority?

When you understand what your audience wants, needs and appreciates, you can adjust your approach, ensuring the right amount of detail is covered in the required areas.

2. Embrace Brevity

As a finance or accounting professional, it may be tempting to take a deep dive every time you share data. After all, every number is part of the big picture, so explaining what they mean and why they matter seems natural.

However, information overload isn’t going to make complex financial concepts clear to non-financial managers. Instead, summarize the key points quickly and wait for additional questions. If they come up, then focus on a more detailed explanation.

3. Alter Your Language

Finance and accounting industry terms and acronyms aren’t always widely known. Instead of explaining them as you go, try to avoid jargon entirely and opt for words and phrases that are easily understood. This lessens the chance of confusion and ensures your audience isn’t forced to stop you and ask for a definition, something that could be embarrassing for some non-financial managers.

4. Be Consistent

If you have to give a particular report or presentation on a regular basis, make sure each edition is as similar to the previous as possible. When you use consistent mechanisms for sharing the information, including the same kinds of graphs or data points, comparisons are easier for non-financial managers. Plus, the pattern will be reassuring for your audience, making following along less daunting.

5. Focus on Data That Matters

When you present complex financial data, make sure you only include the numbers that matter in that instant. This may involve selecting those that align with a particular KPI and eliminating anything extraneous.

While providing all the data may seem like you are giving the information context, it can actually be overwhelming to your audience. Don’t be afraid to limit the details according to the topic at hand as long as the primary issue is covered, and everything remains accurate.

We Can Help You Find Accounting Candidates with Communication Skills

If you’d like more tips on how to explain financial concepts to non-financial managers, the team at VB can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our finance and accounting industry expertise can benefit you.

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