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Mind map complex utility topics for effective decision making

What is a mind map? 

Mind-mapping is a productivity tool valuable for developing meeting presentations and training classes, analyzing business processes and project planning including assignments, work plans and goals. A pictorial diagram that outlines ideas around a single concept or theme, a mind map can range from ideas doodled on paper to a formal presentation of complex topics or projects with the use of digital apps.

Practical application: Complex topic presentation to a non-technical audience

Picture this. You need to convey the essence of regulatory accounting to an audience of mixed financial backgrounds: your finance team, management and oversight board that regulates your utility rates. Your presentation must provide key information for these individuals to make decisions about the:

  • Current utility budget approval
  • Finance of strategic initiatives in your utility’s workforce management and movement toward renewable power supply options in future rates for current expenditures
  • Utility rates increase needs
  • Political reality to hold down the amount of any rate increase

The foundation for regulatory accounting is Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 62 (GASB 62) - Regulated Operations. For a fairly technical topic like GASB 62, traditional presentation tools, such as slide decks, written reports or oral presentations, risk sowing confusion and misunderstanding or putting the audience to sleep.

Solution: Mind map presents broad topics and specific applications of GASB 62

A mind map is suited for visually presenting a complex topic like GASB 62 because it’s hierarchical and illustrates relationships among the pieces of information presented.

Based on a single concept centered on a page, the mind map is then surrounded by groups of related concepts, images, thoughts and questions designed to clarify ideas. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept. Other ideas branch out like tree roots from those major ideas.

High-level mind map featuring the GASB 62 example

An effective tool for organizing and analyzing complex topics and activities, mind mapping ensures clarity for audiences of varying professional backgrounds and roles. In our GASB 62 example, one decision-maker could point to a concept or idea and spur discussion that drills beneath the presentation’s surface. Other decision-makers could walk away with a high-level understanding of the material presented. In both cases, mind mapping has effectively connected your audience with the issues and applications to make well-informed decisions for your utility.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly power and utilities specialists can help, contact our team.

Russell A. Hissom
Partner Emeritus, CPA, CIA, CISA, CRMA
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