When you have a financial investment, then sound and reliable financial information has to be key. And that's clearly the approach that's taken with financial results presentations. Because no matter whether it's a monthly or quarterly trading update or even the full year results we really do expect quality.
And that's clearly the driver for the two financial results presentations that we spotted this week. Both the Whitbread plc and Barclays plc results presentations are detailed and thorough. And, perhaps, that's also their main problem. They are simply too thorough. There really is too much information on each of the PowerPoint slides. There's a real communication battle going on with these slides. However, your typical audience member is likely to be on the losing side. If pushed, then I might diagnose death by PowerPoint. But, the overall gloss of the slides makes up some ground.
Now I know that the audience for trading updates and annual general meetings is a specialist one. Albeit private investors are always welcome. But what we see with these presentations is a surge towards information overload. It's certainly as if everything that could go in a financial report has now to be crammed into a PowerPoint deck. And that's a problem. Because it doesn't help with their understanding or accessibility.
So, what did we like with these two financial results presentations? Well, they both benefit from good branding. The Whitbread plc colour scheme runs throughout their presentation and is easily identifiable. Though we do miss the Costa colours that we noted last year with the Whitbread results presentation.
And similarly, the Barclays colour scheme is readily identifiable. There's really no doubt that this is just like the Barclays results presentation we previewed earlier in the year, or the Hollywood Bowl Group presentation.
Both of the presentations use headings well. If we have a favourite, then we might opt for the Whitbread headings, but it's a marginal call only.
However the results presentations take a very different approach to their use of sections. Whitbread use big dramatic photography to show their new sections, Financial Performance and IFRS 16 and so on. These are good pausing points. Plus they provide an audience a ready overview of progress.
In contrast, the Barclays presentation doesn't use easily identifiable break points. The first one is probably APPENDIX which we expect to see near the end. So, this is certainly an area that can be improved.
We expect jargon so we weren't disappointed. Because there really was plenty to view with both of the financial results presentations. This one from Barclays caught our attention.
Income decreased by 2%, more than offset by a 3% reduction in costs, delivering positive jaws
Our initial surprise at seeing a discussion of pipelines in the Whitbread presentation was quickly dissipated. But our favourite has to be:
Operational dis-synergies following the sale of Costa of c.£10 million
The dis-synergy. That's a new one for me, though gloriously descriptive.
In summary, these are seriously thorough financial results presentations. If you plan to review them yourself, then do grab a coffee first. And, you will probably also require a second coffee, but not a Costa. Good luck.
You can always discover plenty of presentation skills tips for your next big corporate presentation. Plus, when you need some specialist presentation training by way of preparation for that event, then please don't hesitate to get in touch.
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