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How to Report to the CEO in Hard Times?


CEO's work, leading the company's growth, is always tricky. But the past few years presented challenges that caught even the most-seasoned CEOs off guard. Things like a pandemic and significant global economic swings put pressure on the CEO and the finance team serving the CEO's needs. With these practical tips, you can make complex financial data easier for the CEO to understand.

Understand the CEO's needs

Start by understanding the financial metrics and information most important to your CEO today. This might include cash flow, profitability, cost management, debt levels, or customer retention.


Use Simple Visuals and Graphs


Remember that the CEO is not an expert in financials. This is why a complex financial Excel table or a print screen from the accounting tools as a report remains overlooked.


Visuals, like charts and graphs, can make complex financial data easier for the CEO to understand. Use them to highlight key trends, comparisons, and variances.



1-3 KPIs are often considered an ideal range for presenting KPIs in a single visual or graphic. It provides enough information to convey TOP insights without overwhelming the CEO. Use simple visuals to make it easier for the CEO to understand complex financials. With riskrate you can share digital financial reports with a click to the CEO.





Start Summarizing Three Top Points Based on Your Analysis


Start your email with a summary that highlights the most critical points. Don't not only present numbers; provide three key points in your analysis. Explain to the CEO why specific financial metrics are essential, how they compare to previous periods (or industry benchmarks), and what actions might be taken based on the data. For example, you can identify specific actions or strategies that can be taken based on the financial data. This might include cost-cutting measures, pricing or product offerings adjustments, or market focus changes.



Use Clear Language and

Avoid Financial Jargon


CEOs want to be in contact with real people. Make sure that the language used in your financial message report is clear and straightforward. Avoid financial jargon that may not be familiar to the CEO.




Provide Forecast and Scenario Analysis

In challenging times, CEOs need to plan for different scenarios. Provide forecasts based on various assumptions and scenarios A, B, and C, along with your analysis of the potential impacts on financials.

With riskrate, you can run and share scenarios with a click.


Be Transparent about Assumptions

If your report includes forecasts or scenarios, be transparent about the assumptions and methodologies used to generate those numbers. This helps build trust in the accuracy of the information.

Focus on KPIs

Highlight the most critical KPIs that directly impact the company's financial health. This might include metrics like cash burn rate, gross profit margin, customer acquisition cost, or inventory turnover.

Segment Financial Data

Break down financial data by relevant segments (e.g., product lines, customer segments, geographic regions) to provide a more detailed view of performance. This helps identify areas of strength and weakness.

Remember to maintain open lines of communication with the CEO. Be open and ready for any time to the CEO's questions and discussions about the financials. This ensures that the CEO understands the company's financial status and can make hard decisions with trust.

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