Visuals Drive Value: How Valencia’s Financial Leaders Employ Creativity in Their Roles

By Dani Moritz-Long

Not everyone is aptly suited for numbers (or at least they don’t think they are). Some of us associate statistics, budget sheets and equations with the onset of a migraine headache. Thus, leading in a financial role can prove a significant challenge as a part of leading is engaging people in your work and effectively communicating (without inducing the non-mathematically inclined with head pain).

““The work that we do in the budget office, procurement and contracts plays an essential role in Valencia’s operational success,” Oscar Cristancho Mercado, assistant vice president, budgets and analysis, explained about his department’s role.

But how do you communicate these implications to audiences who may struggle with understanding comprehensive budget reports and analysis? The answer might surprise you.

To navigate this challenge, Oscar and his colleague Chris Kretchik, director, accounting, employ something that might not come to mind when you think of those with accounting backgrounds: creativity.

For example, instead of complicated, exhaustive decks, Oscar and Chris recently opted to leverage something a little simpler — hand-drawn visual slides (see below).

Explaining the methodology, Chris said, “When we use visual representations to show index coding and its incremental meaning (see figure 1) or program coding (see figure 2), it helps to break down the meaning of the index for someone but also shows the value of knowing what that index or program code is. The value of visuals is that they cut across all disciplines and all levels of understanding and bring the numbers to life.”

Through this creative approach to leading and teaching, Oscar and Chris hope to benefit the College by educating and empowering Valencia’s employees.

“Our goal is to encourage our faculty and staff to find efficiencies through financial planning, to make resources available that help and empower budget managers make financial decisions that generate greater value to our students,” Oscar said.

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