Man sits in a chair with a long stream of paper, struggling with numerical aptitude
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Finance Basics: 1

For a healthy mix of quantitative planning, evaluation, and management, you need solid decision-making. And finance is the secret sauce! Get the essentials of finance in this two-part course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

Want to compare your performance vs. a competitor? Or evaluate a potential vendor? Then you'll need to conduct a financial analysis. This course will teach you how to use three financial statements and evaluate financial performance in terms of profitability, efficiency, soundness, growth, and overall strength.

Whether a little or a lot, we all use numbers in our jobs. But even business school students and speakers on mastering business analysis who say that they like numbers don’t necessarily find them easy. The goal, of course, is to get to a place where numerical analysis stops being a chore, and instead becomes a welcome, even enjoyable part our day-to-day work.

Not only will this lower stress, but it also holds a lot of potential for career advancement. Having a mind for numbers is an indisputable asset for mastering business analysis.

A basic 2x2 matrix common at business schools for raising numerical aptitude, among other analytical skills
©GLOBIS

Business schools love to organize things into 2×2 matrices like the one above. The ideal situation—liking numbers and finding them easy as 1, 2, 3—is known as numerical aptitude.

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What Numerical Aptitude Actually Means

When you imagine someone who is “good with numbers,” what do you picture? Perhaps somebody using a complex Excel spreadsheet to create a financial report for their boss or business partner. They may be furiously building charts or graphs, or perhaps they’re adding row after row to a table with seemingly endless decimals and percentages.

Finance Basics: 1

For a healthy mix of quantitative planning, evaluation, and management, you need solid decision-making. And finance is the secret sauce! Get the essentials of finance in this two-part course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

And doing it all effortlessly.

That’s not entirely wrong, though the intimidation of such an image is often unnecessary. Numerical aptitude is really just the ability to translate what you want to say into a graph or chart, or interpret your message from a given graph or table. 

Cycle of how graphs and language can be interpreted for a clear business message
©GLOBIS

Most people are more conscious of the interpretation side of things because it is often what we are expected to do at school or work. The translation of graphs to tell a story is frequently an unexpected blind spot.

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Person drowning in accounting and finance documents reaches up for help from a person in a business suit

Here’s the good news: If you hone your numerical translation skills, the time you need to prepare documents will be dramatically shortened. This is because having a clear output image in mind makes it possible to work backwards. That image is built on numbers. You’ll already have your storyline, so you can identify what information is necessary for your analysis and avoid wasting time on gathering irrelevant data or doing unnecessary research.

How to Get a Mind for Numbers

So mastering business analysis means getting good with numbers. But how do you achieve numerical aptitude? The answer is threefold:

  • Supportive software (like Excel)
  • The right frameworks and methods
  • Perspective
Three gears show areas to improve numerical aptitude: software, frameworks, and perspective
©GLOBIS

Breaking down numerical aptitude into these three needs can help you identify where your problem with numbers lies.

Software to Support Numerical Analysis

Are you struggling to calculate percentages by hand? Or compare numerical KPIs cell by cell? Or track your budget manually?

Don’t waste your time. We’re well into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. All of that can be done by AI now.

Pretty much every company nowadays at least has Microsoft Excel, but there are lots of other tools out there tailored to various numerical analysis needs. If you keep trying to do it on your own, you’ll not only be causing yourself a lot of stress—you’ll be wasting a lot of time.

Invest that time in finding the perfect software for your business, or perhaps look into a YouTube tutorial for how to harness the greater power of the software you already have.

Frameworks and Methods for Numerical Aptitude

Software, powerful as it is, is still a tool. Every business should use it, but remember it won’t do all the work for you. Machines still need humans for a lot of things, and a big one is interpreting data.

So if you’re still struggling with accounting, you might need to brush up on some basic frameworks.

Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

Want to compare your performance vs. a competitor? Or evaluate a potential vendor? Then you'll need to conduct a financial analysis. This course will teach you how to use three financial statements and evaluate financial performance in terms of profitability, efficiency, soundness, growth, and overall strength.

Consider investing in your business education, whether it’s individual courses or a full MBA from a school like GLOBIS University. While it is a big step, it can launch you much closer to your goal of mastering business analysis.

Perspective

Maybe you have the software and the framework know-how, but you keep falling down the rabbit hole of nitty gritty numbers. That’s where perspective comes in.

Keep your eye on the bigger picture. Focus on the outcome, the why of your analysis. After all, numbers are a communication tool. Numerical aptitude is how you ensure they’re working for you, not the other way around.

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