Making the presentation more than just pretty

When it comes to presenting financial information, most people want to know if they are in for a big windfall and, if not, why they are being bothered at all.

In organizational meetings, most people want to know that the organization is in for a big windfall and, if not, why they are being bothered at all.

Those presenting financial information must be aware of both its importance and the need to engage people in what they are hearing.

During the 2014 Nonprofit Executive Summit in Santa Fe, N.M., representatives of Sageworks said that preparation is essential for a financial presentation, and that goes beyond polishing PowerPoint pixels or spiffying up a speech. They offered six preparation tips for financial presentations.

  • Review the agenda for the entire meeting, not just the financial portion. Consider how the financial information might be used to discuss other agenda items.
  • Meet with the team of experts. Many CFOs say they have subordinates highlight information in a bottom-up look. This can help the presenter take a top-down approach in reviewing the information.
  • Identify opportunities. Look for opportunities (e.g., board meetings) to learn about issues facing the organization or sector.
  • Take baby steps. Prepare presentations in an ongoing basis.
  • Consider the meeting’s objective when determining content. Clarify what is to be explained or shown.
  • Double-check and distribute. Set early deadlines to gather information from multiple information points.