It’s all numbers

(Last week, I went to Chennai to attend my best friend’s wedding. The moment I returned home my mother started her interrogation)

Mother: Chinmay, how was the wedding?

Me: Good.

Mother: Did they follow Covid protocols?

Me: hmm… kind of, I along with other friends took precautions and were all vaccinated.

Mother: How many of your friends attended?

Me: hmm… 7… no it was 9, I had a good time catching up with college friends after a long time.

Mother: How many were at the wedding?

Me: On the wedding day around 60 – 80

Mother: How about the day before?

Me: around 40

Mother: How was the food?

Me: good, really good.

Mother: How many dishes were served?

Me: Ma… seriously? Do you expect me to remember that?

Mother: I am just curious. Anyways, what time did you start from Chennai today?

Me: around 1:30 pm

Mother: So, you reached at 8:30 pm, that’s almost 7 hours

Me: correct

Mother: usually, they say it takes 8 hours, how come it took you 7 hours? Were you overspeeding?

Me: Ma… I and Vinod both drove so we did not stop for long breaks.

Mother: How was the weather in Chennai?

Me: Hot! It was 30+C mostly and was humid.

Mother: How far was the wedding venue from Marina beach?

Me: around 10 kms

Mother: I remember your friend Karthik (bridegroom) saying his fiance (bride) works in the US, right?

Me: yes

Mother: What does she (bride) do?

Me: she’s a software engineer

Mother: How long has she been in the US?

Me: I think for more than 8 years

Mother: How many siblings has she got?

Me: I think 2 or 3… Ma, are you done with your interrogation?

Mother: You are like your father, why don’t you just answer?

Me: ok… now let me ask you some questions… what time did you wake up on the festival day?

How many dishes did you cook?

How many kadabu’s (special dish made during Ganesh Chaturthi) did you make?

How many kadabu’s did you eat?

How many guests did you invite?

How was the weather in Bangalore?

How many questions did you ask Appa (my father)?

For how many questions did he answer?

For how long did you both had the conversation?

(my mother had a look where she wanted to give me one tight slap. So, sensing the situation I stopped talking)

Mother: are you done with your interrogation?

Me: whaattteverrrr…

Anyways, Ma, I think you would have asked at least a dozen questions?

Mother: maybe, why? I should not be asking you any questions is it Mr Financial Educator? You are now a big man and don’t have time to spend with your mother. Ok, I will not ask you anything from now on.

Me: Ma… ufff… Did you realise for most of the questions you asked my reply (answer) had some kind of a number?

Mother: hmm… maybe… in fact, yes.

Me: also, if you had answered the questions that I asked, I am sure you would have mentioned some kind of a number.

Mother: yes

Me: see… this is what we do knowingly or unknowingly whilst making a decision.

Almost every decision we make in our life is directly or indirectly related to numbers!

But unfortunately, when it comes to business because of the misconception and perception we might have around the subject of finance we consider ourselves as a non-finance person or a non-finance business owner, or a non-finance manager. Then we say, “I am not good with numbers”.

This many a time leads us to bypass reading-understanding-analysing numbers and we might end up making decisions based on assumptions and gut-feel, which can be detrimental.

Mother: hmm… so this is what your mentor was trying to make you understand when he said – the language of business is numbers!

Me: Correct!


If you are a business owner or a key decision-maker, I am sure you know the importance of numbers. But when you ask or looking for that specific-relevant number, often you are given an Excel file or some kind of a fancy report with thousands of numbers.

According to me, these are data.

Data is like crude oil that needs to be filtered and processed.

DATA filtered becomes INFORMATION;

Information processed becomes RELEVANT INFORMATION;

Relevant information communicated in simple laymen’s language leads to effective communication.

Then the effective communication within the core team members will enhance the chances of making informed profitable decisions.


Do you have too many numbers (data) stored or coming from various places?

Do you have someone filtering, processing, and then presenting/communicating it in simple words?

If not, I am afraid the decisions we are busy making might be based on assumptions or gut-feel or some rule-of-thumb. And we might be hoping that these decisions will bring in some kind of profit three or six months down the line. Remember, hope is a good thing to have but may not be a good strategy to run a business!

#numbers #assumptions #businessnumbers #financemanagement #bottomline #financeacademy