The dangers of using pie charts

(cross-post from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

We accountants love pie charts. We think it makes complex info easy to understand.

For us as accountants that may be the case. For others who aren’t as analytical, that may not be the case.

The Worst Chart In The World, an article at Business Insider, explains why.

If you want to improve your visual presentations, check out the article.

It shows some of the dangers of using pie charts.

I’ll just quote the summary:

  • Whenever there is similarity in the information available, a pie chart is not the right chart to use.

  • Whenever there are multiple (3 or more) different points of data, a pie chart is not the right chart to use.

  • Pie charts are very easy to abuse. 

  • A pie chart is not the right chart to use if you need to label each percent.

I’ll try boiling the article down into one sentence:

  • Pie charts can’t hold much information; it is very easy to overload them.

If you communicate info with charts, reading the above article might improve your skills. 

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