We spotted this beautifully simple feat of data presentation on Monday and shared it on Twitter, thinking it would be useful for people in our online network as they tackled the tube strike.*
It stood out at us from the countless images shared on Twitter because it presents complex data in a way that allows us passengers to ask different yet still useful questions about what we’re using to seeing on a tube map. This #walklondon map strikes a chord with us as bookkeepers.
Our job is to record and present numbers in a way that our clients and their accountants can use to ask useful questions about their businesses. So they can plan their journey according to the businesses needs and the environment it’s operating in.
It’s especially relevant as we start to plan for changes to tax returns coming as part of Making Tax Digital in the next few years. This will naturally push commercial financial data into the cloud and is aimed at making useful financial data and insight more accessible for business owners.
There’s a bit of an art to creating a useful way to report data. It has a lot to do with setting up systems and recording the right details and also requires an understanding of the people who’ll want to use it. Using the #walklondon map as an example the basic tube map extracts the key travel data for passengers:
- different tube lines;
- the stops each makes;
- where they intersect;
- which zone of London you’re in.
Result: I see only the data I need to plot my journey.
Then add an extra layer to the familiar map: minutes walk between stations. I don’t have to learn how to read a new map, with new landmarks on it (who has time?!) but I get access to a whole new world of information that gives me new options and flexibility in how I plan my journey. Options and flexibility are really useful in a changing and uncertain world, as all business owners already know.
So our top tip: Have your data at your fingertips and you’re prepared for whatever life throws at you, your travel plans or your business.
Also a massive thanks to Kirsten Gibbs for her encouragement via Twitter to get out and walk around London to experience things around us all the time, that we so easily miss by sticking to our familiar tube journeys 🙂 we’re going to keep a copy of the map and use it next time one of us is in London.
*(We later learned this map was created in 2014, so this has been available for over 2 years already, yet it took yesterday’s tube strike for it to cross our path. Just goes to show that the data we need changes as things around us change.)