Preparing financial presentations for board meetings, shareholders
Board meeting presentations can cause a CFO, consultant or business owner headaches, both in the preparation and in the actual presentation. For the financial portion of the presentation, knowing what to include can be a big source of frustration: too much financial detail can be overwhelming or completely uninteresting to board members while too little financial detail could be a missed opportunity for advice from experienced board members.
If you are tasked with leading the financial discussion of a board meeting (or even a shareholders meeting), here are some recommendations that will increase its efficacy.
1. To make data more meaningful, have financial benchmarks at hand. Given how industries perform differently, your audience might have problems interpreting the financial data unless there is some context showing changes over time or comparisons to benchmarks. How are we doing this year versus last? How do we compare to our industry’s average? Show the variations and try to explain what they mean for the longevity of the company. (Access a whitepaper on Financial Benchmarking Best Practices.)
Download this whitepaper: How to Improve Financial Presentations to Clients
2. The board will want something other than a slideshow to view—something to take with them. And, the deliverable is almost as—if not more—important than what you say during the presentation. Prepare a brief (at most, a few pages) report that gives the board members key metrics in a professional and simple format. If you are using a presentation deck, do try to incorporate easy-to-view graphs rather than just blown-up versions of the financial statements.
ProfitCents, a business analysis program that accountants use with their business clients, interprets the financial statements and automatically generates PowerPoint presentations that can be easily modified to suit the audience.
3. If possible, share the handout with board members before the presentation, so they might have the opportunity to review and prepare questions beforehand. Audience members are more likely to pose questions and be engaged during the presentation if they can review the material, even in summary form, in advance.
For more information on how to prepare financial presentations for your colleagues, investors or board of directors, download this free whitepaper: How to Improve Financial Presentations to Clients. Read some additional tips on providing financial presentations here.