Give that a quick look and all looks great: as one would hope, the overall chart shows a steady increase to the right. It’s so ingrained in us to look for this that the message from this chart appears unambiguous: things are getting better.

Then check the X-axis. The timeline is the reverse of that invariably used. The most recent data is on the left of the chart, and the oldest on the right. Things are not getting better. Things are getting worse, and very much so.

That makes me want to ask a basic question. If the FRC is committed to ensuring that true and fair views are given why did it choose to misrepresent the data it is delivering today to imply something that is not true? Why is it presenting its own data, in other words, in a way that is neither true or fair?

If we are to have confidence in a regulator that is responsible for the truth and fairness of data surely we should be able to presume that they will uphold that standard themselves.

Have you ever noticed how financial accounts are generally presented?

Most recent period to the left, receding into history as we move to the right? And the idea that the Financial Reporting Council would use the standard layout for financial reporting is just absurd, right?

Either that or they’re Hebes. That all three professors are spouting on a subject unknown to them could not possibly be true.

15 thoughts on “Ahahahahahaha”

  1. But not charts or graphs Tim, they often / usually go to the right…

    Columns often go to the right as well. 12 months of data? It’ll go to the right. Two columns or columns with say actuals against forecast or budget with variances? That’ll vary, often starting with current or actual on the left, with forecasts, budgets, last year and variances at various points to the right; and which is mostly to do with how it presents or sells (to the target) most effectively.

  2. So the numbers for “Good or limited improvements required” read, from left to right: 59, 91, 81, 82, 84.

    I find it hard how someone as learned as Capt Potato would see that as a steady increase to the right. But then you look down to the labels, doesn’t everyone, and see that the number 59 relates to 2019/20. In other words, it does not relate to a full set of annual reports. There are companies with 30 September accounting dates and a large number with 30 June dates have not yet reported.

    What is he complaining about?

  3. Thinking further, it’s sequences that often go to the right, and forms of comparison that can often be the other way round, like two columns for Co House for example, or more columns if other comparisons included.

  4. Apols for not collating thoughts in one post – but, it’s simply the way we read. A sequence is obvious. Jan followed by Feb, etc. But with a comparison, what we are actually reading is this compared to that. Hence we start on the left with this.

  5. Anyone so dumb they aren’t able to read that bottom line and work it out for themselves is not someone anyone should be listening to.

  6. It’s reasonable to suggest that the information might be more meaningful if presented left-to-right.

    But it’s fuckwittery of the highest order to propose that it was done deliberately to mislead the public.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ Pretty dumb if you look a chart and don’t check the axis to see what it’s telling you”

    Indeed, especially given the way many (lefty/greeny) organisation go out of their way to deliberately mislead. The favourite being selective in the dates used, but wonky y-axis selection is another classic that can be used to make a small increase or decrease seem massive eg something increases from say, 1001 to 1005 over 3 years start at 1000 and have a scale measured in 0.1 units.

  8. Yes, should always check what the origin point is, very easy to change the shape of the chart by starting a low point of range not 0, can go from flat to very jagged

  9. The financial spreadsheets I use go both directions:

    J F M A M J J A S O N D Y-0 Y-1 Y-2 Y-3 Y-4 etc.

    This year’s months incrementing, then previous years’ totals decrementing. But then I did a five-day “basic business accounting” at the chamber of commerce paid for by the job centre, so what do I know.

  10. It’s all a matter of taste and how one thinks it will be easiest for the reader to understand. Normally company accounts show current year first with previous year numbers to the right for comparison purposes [for non-habitues this is because the text explaining what you are showing starts on the left-hand side of the page and the relevant number comes nearest the text with the prior-year comparator further away]. However when I have a spreadsheet showing N years of comparable data I arrange it with the earliest year on the left and the latest (which is not necessarily the current) year on the right.
    Murphy does, for a change, have a point as most people expect a chart to have the time-axis (if there is one – most graphs do not have time as one of the axes) to be earlier on the left and later on the right. [Of course “invariably” is a lie, or evidence of his ignorance.]
    However his ad hominem attack on the FRC is utterly unjustified as anyone who is interested will look at the axis to find out the period over which the changes have occurred so he/she/they will *not* be misled.

  11. “It’s all a matter of taste and how one thinks it will be easiest for the reader to understand.”
    So in Murphy’s case you need numbers so he can colour-in with the correct crayon?

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