Read the numbers by Janice B Gordon

red issue

You may look at a balance sheet or profit and loss and get that sinking feel, I know a lot of people who do and this is not gender specific. The finances of a business tell a story with a beginning, middle and end, for those people that find numbers difficult to read, you are not lacking in abilities you have not being given the code.

Understanding your own personality type will help you to understand your preference in receiving and expressing information:

  • Driver – Fact-Based Extrovert
  • Analytical – Fact-Based Introvert
  • Amiable – Relationship Introvert
  • Expressive – Relationship Extrovert

If you are major analytical type you have a preference for facts and figures and so a balance sheet will be less daunting. You may not have been taught how to read it but you will not have an aversion to it but you may be curios to learn. If you are an expressive type you would be more dismissive of financial requirements and value people relationships in building a business.

In my experience in working with SMEs it is shocking how many business owners have an unhealthy relationship with the numbers in their business, when the numbers are a critical guide to the health of the business. The numbers of a business is like the dashboard of a car, you need to understand how to read the speedometer, the fuel dial and the warning lights etc…to get to your destination without running out of fuel or breaking down on route.

In order to grow a business it is crucial to understanding basic accounting, to get regular management reports and to analyse the business in terms of sales and marketing and variable cost.

Do you understand your numbers?

It is frightening how many business owners’ think cash is profit, or that money in the bank means the business is profitable. Being able to read the numbers of the business allows the business owner to regularly measure the path. This creates opportunities to modify and improve the numbers while the business is in progress so ensuring the desired destination is reached.

If you understand your personality type, you will understand that you are not useless with numbers, amicable and expressive personality types need to understand the relationship and relevance of the figure, i.e. what does it mean to my people? What can I express with it? What opportunities will it create? How does it explain this unique situation?

Numbers express a story so it is important that the story is expressed in a way to engage the senses of the business owners that need to understand and use them.

Take time to understand your personality type and then find an accountant who can express the story in a way in which your personality can understand. Remember it is not you, it is the way you tell it.

If you like this blog you may also like this

8 Responses

  1. Hi Janice, how interesting to know the types of personality when you are telling a story, especially the numbers stories! I will use that going forward. Thank you so much!

    • Thank you for your comment Morena, it is so easy to think that we are not good at something but sometimes it down to our lesser type and using a language in our preferred type can help to clear the mist.

  2. Hi Janice

    Thanks for the very interesting article. I’ve not come across these personality type classifications before. How do you assess which one you are ? Is there an assessment like Myers Briggs? I heard an interesting debate on radio 4 yesterday about maths and our relationship to numbers. It was suggested that if you tell yourself you won’t be good with numbers you then you won’t be however, according to them anyone can excel with the right mindset and supportive education. Big Hugs :~D

    • Great comments and debate Ola, I believe what you think you are, too many people tell themselves due to poor experience/teaching, that they are rubbish with numbers. Great teachers find a way to speak the students language. Personality types informs the language. Unfortunately school teaches students in one language and if it is not yours, your experience tell you you are rubbish with numbers. All personality type like Myers Briggs is based on Jung’s theory, Myers Briggs is more complex this is a simplified version that looks at Extrovert and Introvert and Thinking and Feeling and you have a sense of which is your personal preference without the complex analysis. Have you looked at Talent Dynamics which takes Jung’s theory into practical application.
      Thank you Ola great debate.

  3. Great insight Janice, I was speaking about this only yesterday with my accountant and neighbour I shall pass your article to him – it might help him with his frustrating clients! 🙂

    • Thank you Jenny this is very kind of you. So many people get frustrated but it is about find a key to open the lock, one size does not fit all. I work with Accountants to help them to communicate better with their clients and understand their customer differences. The thing is when we are one personality we communicate in our language and not the language of our customers. Stay Well Jenny.

  4. I agree that people struggle with numbers because they tell themselves they’re no good at them. I was always good with numbers and went to an all girls school, didn’t understand the girly thing about numbers. When working as a project manager I have to be good at numbers as well. I can find holes in all sorts of plans and budgets. But I do find it very fulfilling – engaging with people is the interesting bit.

    • Judy I can see you see the fun in numbers, the connections and the stories they tell. I agree what we tell ourselves is always true. Thank you for sharing your experience and your comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.