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Data Analytics Community

Bringing data to life

Author: Inflo

Published: 22 Apr 2021

From data wrangling to communication back to business, the data analytics community like others are facing key challenges, even more so in the current climate. In this piece, we explore the concept of data storytelling, the importance of it as data becomes more prevalent and the positive impact upon the data analytics.

You must be wondering what exactly is data storytelling?

In a world where people have such short attention spans, how can you clearly and concisely convey data analysis in a way a client can understand? The answer lies in data storytelling. Data storytelling transcends many professions but for the accounting profession, it is the process of creating stories out of your data analysis findings. This will then allow clients to clearly understand complex insights and allow them to act made on informed decisions.

Why is data storytelling so important?

Data storytelling is important because it communicates data insights in a way that any person would understand and can drive better conversations and decision making. When we see great data storytelling, we’re seeing the realisation of great data visualisation. Insight gained from data analysis needs to be communicated in a way that the people who aren’t familiar with the data will understand.

In practice, accountants need to get far better at using graphical data and charts to actually be able to present interesting findings to their clients and tell a story of what they have done. Similarly, people in industry may be really good at number crunching, which is great, but then how could they tell the story to the business of what they have actually learned and what’s in the insight and the actions that is needed? Data insights are potentially worthless if you can’t communicate them to the right people in the right way.

How does Inflo use these techniques to support data storytelling?

Visuals are considered the easiest medium for the human brain to understand and we have used this concept to ensure the Inflo platform provides the ability to quickly extract and communicate rich data insights that are worth sharing as stories. 

We have built-in simple visualisations such as bar charts and pie charts which makes it easy to instantly draw conclusions from the data and enlighten the audience. Combined with data and the right narrative, a basic visualisation such as a monthly bar chart can be powerful because it can instantly grab your audience’s attention as they can see what they need to see. The image below is an example of a dashboard in the Inflo Collaborate module. This is an example of data visualised in various graphs and if this were to be compared to a list in a Word document, it would be easy to tell which is more appealing and impactful.

The use of colour is scientifically proven to draw attention to patterns. By adopting a simple colour palette, can make it easy to determine between different characteristics such as low risk and high risk or identify new trends and patterns. As you can see in the image below, this is an example screen of metrics in Inflo Detect. Here is an example of how using a simple red and green can help in painting a clearer picture for the audience.

Next time you are working with your data to reveal important insights, consider communicating your findings with a story. Remember, if we can’t learn something useful from the data, the story isn’t worth telling.

If you would like more information about any of the topics in this article or would like to discuss how you can get started, please get in touch with Inflo today. ICAEW’s member firms can access exclusive discounts to Inflo’s market-leading solution.

*The views expressed are the author’s and not ICAEW’s.