Steps to Management Success – Step 31: Translate Numbers to English

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 31st, 2010


Translate Numbers to English

Learn to understand what the numbers mean—and what problems or opportunities they suggest. Companies are in business to make money—and the financial reports are the way that everyone keeps score. Without being astute in this area, you are flying blind—not a good way to travel at all.

WHAT IT MEANS: Financial reports speak their own language, and your competence in business requires that you have a basic understanding of them. Make sure you know what’s in your company’s financial report, how it’s assembled, and how your actions affect the numbers. If you are uncertain about what these reports mean, make it your business to find out.

ACTION PLAN: Regularly review your financial performance with your boss and those reporting to you. If you see performance slipping in an area, analyze why and take action. If there’s an overall performance problem but the cause is unclear, look for a financial breakdown. As you analyze the report, ask yourself, “Is there any other information that would help me?”

EVEN BETTER: You don’t have to become a CPA, but there are various ways you can get up to speed. Take a class, read a book, or ask someone in finance. By and large you’ll find that people really do like to teach about their specialties. Always ask for the reports you need to manage your business better, and ask for help with anything you don’t understand.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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