For some of us, numbers are easy. They make sense. One follows the other, and when certain rules are applied, certain things happen and everything just seems to flow.
For others, numbers are akin to rumble strips (the divots on the sides of a road that wake you up if you drift whilst falling asleep). They’re unpleasant and irritating, but really helpful when you need them.
“In business, numbers are how we keep score,” says Tim Veurink, musician, accountant, and owner of Allegro Music and Dance Academy. Tim (who also happens to be my stepfather) was Inspired Strategies Agency’s first guest speaker this Monday, Oct 17th. In addition to being an educated and experienced accountant, Tim also has successfully run a music and dance school with three locations and more than 800 students for 25 years.\
Needless to say, he knows something about numbers, and how numbers are something of a necessary evil in business. Even though I, as a communications student, would happily throw quantitative data directly out the window, it is, as Tim says, how businesses keep score. Subsequently, it’s rather important to be able to understand these numbers.
From Tim, I had two takeaways. First, like I’ve already mentioned, numbers are how businesses keep score. Through things like balance sheets and equity and capital and income and liability, businesses can tell if they’re winning or losing. Now, that’s perhaps an extreme oversimplification, but at the same time, it helps the rest of us understand why these things are important and how they shape business’ perspective on different things.
The second takeaway I got from Tim was that you need to know how your company looks at numbers. Though it might not seem like that, that perspective is different from non-profits to PR agencies to media management to healthcare PR. It’s all different and even though there exist some common denominators, individual companies will always look differently at their finances. Non-profits might be examining more closely how they spend their excesses to ensure that it goes to profit the cause, where media management might keep a close eye on capital so that they can appear as successful as possible.
By knowing the numbers in general and the perspectives specific to your company, you can go the extra mile as a public relations professional. You will appear more enticing because you will be able to do your job at a deeper level, even if only nominally so. If you know how to keep score, you can make sure your team is winning.
Written by: Elijah Svoboda, Associate Agency Director