Don’t Like Numbers? Go Visual!

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in Blog

Don’t Like Numbers? Go Visual!

Whether or not math was one of your favorite subjects in school, keeping up with the books can be difficult, time consuming and even boring. That’s why many business owners, especially creative types, turn to a bookkeeper or accountant to do their books and keep up with their finances and other paperwork.

Just because you’ve brought in a professional, however, you still can’t abdicate all responsibility for your finances. It’s still your business, after all, and you should always have an accurate understanding of how well your business is performing. If you are uncomfortable with numbers and spreadsheets you can still get a handle on your finances by turning your figures into a format that you are comfortable with and that’s easy for you to use.

Why a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Oftentimes it’s easier to understand the meaning of numbers and other abstract concepts when this type of information is presented visually.  This is especially true for those of us with a creative streak as we tend to think holistically and in terms of an overall view of things rather than focussing on specific, details and individual steps.

Just as a picture can be better at expressing an emotion than mere words, it can be easier to understand our finances when we translate the numbers into images. The use of colors, illustrations, charts, graphs, pictures and even videos allow us to see and understand the big picture.

How to Use Images to Get a Better Handle on Your Finances

1. Take advantage of your software features. One of the easiest ways to get a better understanding of your figures is to use the features of your software to turn your numbers into visually appealing charts and graphs. This is especially helpful if you want to compare two sets of figures, such as your income versus expenses for a specific period of time, or your sales revenue minus your advertising expenses.

Use bright, contrasting colors when you create graphs or charts, so that you can easily see at a glance whether or not you’ve reached your goals. This will also help make your results more meaningful and memorable to you as well.

2. Create a vision board to help you define your financial goals and maintain your motivation. A vision board is an easy to use visual aid to help you define your financial goals and maintain your motivation.

A simple vision board can be created by using a poster board or other large piece of paper as your background and then pasting images on it that represent your specific financial goals.

Software that allows you to clip and edit images will allow you to create a virtual vision board. You can also use a pubic site such as Pinterest to create boards and pin images to represent your financial dreams and goals. Just be certain to use the private setting on these boards if you aren’t quite ready to share your plans with the world.

3. Steps to take when creating a financial vision board. Regardless of which format that you use, the following tips can help you create a useful vision board.

When figuring out your specific goals for your vision board, it’s a good idea to ask yourself some questions, such as, “what do I want to achieve, or where do I want to be in the next one to five years?”

Choose images that represent the answers to your questions, so that you have a clear picture in your mind of your specific goal or dream. Next, take some time to figure out the individual steps that you need to take to reach these goals.  You may also want to use images for each of these steps.

As time goes on you can also add images to the board that measures your progress towards your goal.  Most of us find that it’s harder to deviate from our plans when we have a clear vision of what we want to achieve and the steps that we must take to reach our objective. This is a particularly useful tip if you have a difficult time controlling your spending and staying within your budget.

You can make certain that your goal remains at the forefront of your mind by posting your vision board in a prominent place where you will see it frequently throughout your day.

4. Vision boards are also good for planning and maintaining focus on other areas of your business.

Creating a vision board can be really beneficial for more than just helping you understand how to reach your financial goals. You can even use this same concept when developing your company’s mission statement, general brainstorming and when making other types of plans such as creating and tracking your marketing strategies.

5. Don’t forget other types of visual aids such as multi-media or videos.  If you need to share your financial results and goals with a large group of people, you may want to turn to multi-media to help yourself and others have a better understanding of the numbers involved with your business finances and plans.

PowerPoint presentations that include sound with your charts and graphs, and highly focused videos can also help you to present financial information and business plans in a way that is easier to understand and remember.

Do you find that graphs, illustrations and other visual aids make it easier for you to understand your personal finances or your business performance? Why not share your experiences with our readers in the comments section below?