Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

Visualization of data – a challenge for accountants

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Accountants can easily see patterns in numbers. When I look at a financial statement, say when I’m preparing a proposal for a potential client, I can study the report and in a short time get a good understanding of what is happening in the organization. That’s the goal of financials, isn’t it? To explain what happened.

Accountants and other financial types can look at a column of numbers and easily see the story. 

Here is the challenge: How do we, as accountants, help other people see the story that is so obvious to us?  How does anyone that works with a large volume of data help ourselves and others see the story?

That is what visualization of data is about.

Professor David Albrecht has a good post walking though this issue. He describes how easily he grasps the story behind data. Then he links two superb videos that illustrate creative storytelling.  See The Changing Paradigm of Visualization.

He then challenges us accountants to develop some of that showmanship that Hans Rosling has found.

I don’t have any answers to that question.  That’s why I’m writing about it, so together we can figure out some ideas.

Here’s a great phrase for you:  knowledge compression.  How do we take a huge volume of data and squeeze it down to tell a story.

My previous posts here, here, here, and here.

Written by Jim Ulvog

May 6, 2011, 8:03 am at 8:03 am

Posted in Other stuff

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