/ What Your Finance Reports Should Learn from Mint

Everyone understands finance will never stray from spreadsheets and its hard data, number-crunching roots. And they never should. But for some executives receiving reports from finance, a spreadsheet in their email inbox incites a specific type of dread. And too often, if a report is boring and overwhelming, it won’t be read—and that makes it next to useless.

Fortunately, data visualization makes complicated, detailed data easier to digest. In that regard, finance pros could take a page from popular personal finance app, Mint. Sure, the app is made for everyday consumers, but it does something your complicated financial reports don’t—deliver information in an extremely visual way that’s easy to consume.

By connecting to each financial account, the app automatically organizes spending into categories and shows where each penny is going in easy-to-understand charts and graphs. Immediately upon logging in, a user can see a series of engaging visualizations that visualize everything from morning latte purchases to net worth over time. Armed with that information, users know exactly how to adjust their spending habits to keep (or get) their finances on track. With these data-driven visualizations, even those without technical or financial expertise can intuitively gain insights into their finances. The same can be true for your reports.

Here are three benefits to presenting your data visually:

  • Better insights – Data storytelling should be accessible to anyone. The more you keep people in the loop, the greater the possibility to uncover stories you didn’t know were there.
  • Less handholding – Visualization allows users to explore data in ways they see fit, as opposed to the way someone else saw fit to allow them. The flexibility to join different data sources as desired, view patterns on the fly, and iterate can unearth important insights faster.
  • More collaboration – It pays to have everyone on the same page. Visualizations make data more accessible to everyone, and helps even the least data-centric employees draw more sophisticated insights.

It’s simple: For many, seeing is believing. And for data to really drive results, it needs to be delivered visually. Interactive charts, heat maps, and data relationship maps and trees help key stakeholders make better and more confident business decisions. When you free data from its cells, you can present the nitty-gritty details of your business in ways everyone can understand.