I put together tens of analyses every year for Xtend and our partnered credit unions. Do you know what the number one question I receive after putting together an analysis is? “How were these numbers calculated?”
The data “rules” are always documented in the Appendix of the study and are laid out clearly in easy-to-read charts and bullet pointed lists. The calculated totals and big statements throughout the study are referenced and lead directly to the most relative section of said Appendix. Yet, the top questions I receive all have to do with where the data comes from and/or what the formulas for calculation are.
This isn’t to say that these questions are discouraged or are a bad thing. However, I can immediately tell when someone has only glanced at the surface of the numbers or the first two pages of the analysis when that is the first question they ask. I always encourage clients (and my colleagues) to first read the entire analysis before coming up with questions. Read the disclosures, check the fine print, and click the reference links. That way when we meet, that time is spent on more valuable aspects of the analysis, such as what action items you should take based off the findings or figuring out if this number is “normal” compared to what we usually see.
To me, coming prepared to a meeting means doing as much research as we can to prepare prior to spending time together. When sending an analysis, I provide 7-10 business days’ time to review the information before we sit down together and discuss. Let’s make the most of the time together and stop questioning how open rate was calculated, and instead review the important items on the agenda.