PowerPoint Design Tips for Accounting Professionals

Are you an accounting pro ready to master presentation skills that drive business, or in search of a tool to help you effectively deliver financial data to your colleagues and bosses? Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT) is your go-to choice for creating powerful and professional financial presentations. But simply being aware of PPT isn’t enough to render powerful presentations, especially in today’s business environment where interactive data and dynamic content are becoming increasingly common. If you manage your firm’s books, you need to learn the benefits of using PowerPoint for presentation, and learn to use the program’s built-in design ideas to make your presentations professional and appealing.

What Are the Benefits of Using PPT in Accounting?

If you’re an accountant, PowerPoint presentations help you educate your staff or colleagues on a variety of topics, including budgeting, increasing profits and preparing financial statements. PPT slides are attractive and easy to read, making the material easy to understand. You can also add images and other graphics to the slides to capture your audience’s attention and spark their desire to learn more. Finally, you can use PowerPoint presentations to present crucial financial data to the authorities as well as to your clients or bosses.

How to Deliver an Effective PowerPoint

Think of PPT design as a basic test for marketing your firm and speaking to stakeholders. To create a passing PowerPoint presentation, you need to demonstrate the right design skills and technical literacy.

Use the Best Design

The type of content determines the shape of your PPT design. As such, the colour, font, image and layout you choose reflects the content you’re working with. You may use Adobe Color CC or Photoshop to build your own color schemes. Once you choose a color scheme, design your cover slide. Throw in some typography by choosing a professional, readable font. You can use serif-type fonts, such as Times Roman, for your text. And sans-serif fonts, like Tahoma and Arial, for your headlines. Always remember to make your headlines larger.

Be sure to use a strong left alignment for your text to increase readability. A generous area of whitespace may allow your text room to “breathe” and lend your design a clean, professional look. Now that you’ve created a cover slide to set the tone for the rest of your presentation, it’s time to add the content slides. Make sure to use images and informational elements, such as graphs, to improve readability. You may want to add your company logo and headers, but take care not to overload your presentation with too many extraneous elements.

Know Your Audience

As a professional accountant, you’re likely to work with different audiences, from colleagues to clients. Focus your presentation on the type of people you’re talking to and the situation at hand. If you’re doing a presentation to a larger audience, use large fonts for your text. Be sure to use more charts and graphs when speaking to directors and colleagues about your company’s finances.

Pay Attention to Hierarchy

Do you want to want to capture your audience’s attention and keep them interested throughout your presentation? A good public speaker starts with the most important points. You may want to use numbers and headings for each slide, and provide action steps to keep your audience looking for more.

Keep Bullets to a Minimum

While bullets can help improve readability, using them excessively can leave your work cluttered. Keep your presentation professional by using at most six bullets in a row. Alternatively, you may drop each list item one at a time without necessarily using bullets.

Use a Few Words and Hide Your Notes

As with any other presentation, your work has to contain the relevant qualitative data and technical specifications to deliver the necessary information. Eliminate fluff content and keep your work short to maintain your audience’s engagement and interest. Cut down on jargon: How can your audience understand you when you’re using excessive acronyms and complicated accounting terminology? Use plain language whenever possible, and provide examples. Keep your work simple and expand with your own commentary in the “Add Notes” section.

Embrace Elements of Good Typography

Typography refers to the art and technique you use to arrange type. Your choice of typeface can elicit a feeling of power and importance and affect how your audience understands you. Ensure that your font type and size, leading, alignment and bullets are consistent to keep your readers focused on the content, rather than its format.

Use Relevant Graphics

How do you make your financial presentation interesting? Use graphics to turn your accounting data into visuals that back up what you’ve got to say. Images say more than words, and they help catch attention to make your message more powerful. Be sure to insert images or gifs before writing text, because this will help you to edit your work quickly and easily. Also, remember to use key words to tie your images into the narrative.

Things to Avoid When Creating PowerPoint Slides

To render your best accounting PPT presentation, there are a few things you should avoid.

  • Too much animation, images and/or words per slide
  • Excessive slide transitions
  • Irrelevant sound or images
  • Changing fonts and colors regularly

Know These PPT Quick Tricks

Now that you’ve learned the skills to make your presentation look professional, you may want to learn a few PowerPoint tricks and shortcuts to add and align text, icons, pictures and other elements.

  • Insert pics from an online source

Select the Insert tab, click Online Pictures, then select where you want to source your pictures.

  • Capture screenshot

From the Insert tab, select Screenshot. A thumbnail of all your open windows appear. Select the window that you want to screenshot and drop it into your PPT slide.

  • Clean up an image by removing picture backgrounds

Select an image, click Picture Tools, select the Format tab and Remove Background.

  • Set up a kiosk mode

Do you want your presentation to play over and over again (kiosk mode)? On the Slide Show tab, click Set Up Slide Show and select Browsed at a kiosk.

  • Preview your work

Under the View tab, select Reading View to play your slideshow without having to switch to a full-screen slideshow.

  • Insert music/audio

On the Insert tab, click Audio, and choose your audio from Online Audio. The audio you select for a slide only works for that particular slide. You can make the audio work for all your slides by clicking the Audio Tools tab, then select Playback tab, and check Play Across Slides.

PowerPoint Design Tips at a Glance

You can use Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule to make your presentation concise and make your listeners tune in to you’re saying. Kawasaki’s PowerPoint rule states that your presentation should not have more than 10 slides, last 20 minutes, and use a 30-point font. Always communicate a story behind your data, preferably using examples when necessary. Explain when, where, why, who and what your financial data affects.

You may want to go through samples of professionally prepared samples or use PowerPoint templates to create an effective presentation. Lastly, remember that as an accounting professional, you must polish your public speaking skills in addition to creating great PPT presentations in order to provide maximum appeal to your audience.

Are you an accountant looking for a way to automate your workflow, payroll and business payment processes, or do you need to track your sales and manage employees and clients from one place? QuickBooks Online Accountant offers powerful tools for accounting professionals. Sign up for free.

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