I'm at the start of a project which is all about visualising and comparing the balance sheet of large organisations, primarily defined by these four numbers: assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses. It's more about government than the private sector, if that's relevant, so "profit" is not the point here - or would be called "surplus".
Our client has a particular visual representation in mind:
Once you understand the language, then you can quickly glance at one of these four-quadrant representations of an organisation and mentally categorise it, like "breaking even", "massive deficit", "huge debt but in the black".
The biggest issue (for me) is that this representation is novel, and hence unfamiliar.
My question is: is there a more familiar way of representing these four numbers?
Is there some kind of more familiar visual language we can draw on? A better way to represent this? In many cases (not all), we will have some previous years of data, and in many cases (not all), we will be able to break down the individual quadrants into more detailed units.
Our expected end users are not particularly financially literate, and are not expected to engage with the visualisation for very long. We may only have a few seconds to a minute to tell a story.