The last blog zoomed in on what data visualizations are and why you should visualize your financial data. This time we will discuss how you can visualize your financial data and what the best choice is to visualize certain data.
“Your data is only as good as your ability to understand and communicate it. You need to be able to understand and effectively tell the story behind the numbers. The right data with the wrong visual is useless and can even mislead your audience.”
So what are the different options to visualize your (financial) data and which one is the best choice? We’ve gathered seven of the different types of data visualization possibilities that we believe that are useful when you want to visualize your financial data.
1. Bar graphs
Bar graphs can be used in a variety of ways to visualize your financial data. As a family office, you might use it to show the market value per asset class, per country, or currency. You could also visualize the amount of cash you have to pay for trading. As with the act of trading, there are trading costs involved. With the use of bar graphs, you could drill down the costs and take into account the different custodians which are involved. Additionally, you could display it for a certain period, per month, or year for instance.
2. Pie charts
Pie charts are ideal to show part-to-whole comparisons with discrete or continuous data. You could for example visualize how much cash you have per country, how your market value is per custodian, or what your market value is per portfolio. On the right side, you see a simple example of a pie charts that displays the percentage of cash per country.
3. Line graphs
Line graphs are mainly used when data evolves; to show time-series relationships between data. It is great to show trends that have evolved over the past time. For instance, family offices could visualize the market value and cost value of holdings over a certain period. Also, the cash balance per day can be visualized nicely using a line graph.
4. Area charts
Area charts have the abilities of a line graph but more! They are also able to display volume. How this could benefit your financial data visualization? Well, if you imagine your custodian distribution. Your investments are divided over, for example, three different custodians. You would like to see the general picture of your investments and how they are distributed. Then an area chart is ideal to show this.
5. Geographical Maps
Geographical maps are useful for when you want to pinpoint the different real estate properties you own or have invested in, for instance. Or you might want to visualize where in the world you have investments in general. This gives you the opportunity to see at a glance how your equity is distributed. You could drilldown even further by, for instance, giving different investment types different pin colors.
Tables are a well known way of data visualization, it categorizes different pieces of data in columns and rows. As a family office, you might list the different holdings with additional information such as quantity, local currency, price, market value, cost value, and asset class. Or you might want to list your cash transactions and include information about the custodian, the market value, local currency, exchange rate, and base currency.
Using pictograms to display your data is a very simple way to display data. One might want to elaborate on the fact that one out of every six positions is eventually sold with a profit. At a glance, the viewer can see the conclusion that is explained. On the right, you see that indeed one out of every 6 positions is eventually sold with a profit.
Which data visualization options do you already use for the visualization of your financial data? Stay tuned, if you would like to know which seven points influence the understanding of visual elements and thus the visualization of your financial data.