explaining finances

I presented the treasurer’s report at our church congregational meeting. When I do one of these, I try to explain the standard documents so that people can read the reports and make sense of them.

I’ve tried a couple of times now, and what I find works is to help people zoom out and see the whole table of numbers, then understand what they’re looking at by using coloured rectangles to show the difference between income and expenses, budget and actuals, variance, and then between assets and liabilities.

You can then quickly show the relationship between a profit and loss, budget vs actuals, and the balance sheet, and how they all fit together.

It’s a simple technique, but I think it’s a powerful one.

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