Comments archive

The pages of this comments archive list all public comments on the latest version of the IBCS® Standards in chronological order.


Hi Juergen,

you have succeeded “to reduce to the max” the scaling indicators, with two items:

1) One single rung (of the scale) which  is the only graduation. It is  shown as a line (dotted for one, dashed for ten, and solid for hundred)

2) the unit showing the “thousand” multiplier  (1 dot for ones, 2 dots for thousands, 3 dots for millions and 4 dots for billions)
Comment : I fully agree to put these dots just in front of the rung graduation, in order to show that this line is only here as a scale (and not for any other reason, such as “objective”). Therefore I also think it’s mandatory to put one dot for ones.

My question : As it is shown on the second chart in your first picture, we may want to show thousands (or a second graduation/rung if there is a large amplitude between values), would you put a double line for thousand ?

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Andrej Lapajne

Hi Juergen,

When I submitted the suggestion to use the dots for orders of magnitude (K, M, B) last year, I proposed:

1 dot for K, because there’s 1 thousands separator in the number representation (e.g. 1.000 EUR)

2 dots for M (e.g. 1.000.000 EUR)

3 dots for B

Also, standard number formatting options in BI tools use such representation. For example, to format the numbers in K in Excel, you add 1 dot behind the number, 2 dots for M, 3 dots for B.

If I see 2 dots, I interpret it as millions.

Here are the pictures from my original proposal:



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Here is the concept Rolf and I suggest in our upcoming book:

We also discuss (as one of multiple alternatives) the usage of dots for the thousand multipliers. However we suggest 1 dot for ones, 2 dots for thousands, 3 dots for millions and 4 dots for billions:

The main reason why we start with 1 dot for ones instead of 0 dots for “no multiplier” is, that 0 dots is ambiguous: Is there no dot because you don’t apply the semantic notation of scales, or ist there no dot because you mean “ones”?

However, indicating the thousand multiplier e.g. with dots is not sufficient. In case we have two charts with numbers of the same multiplier on one page, with a big spread in the size of the numbers (e.g. Sales and EBIT), than we need to also show the ones, tens, and hundreds within a thousand multiplier. Here we suggest to use different line types: dotted for one, dashed for ten, and solid for hundred:

Looking forward to your comments.

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Thomas Terbuch

Many ways for distinction of thousands, millions, billions are thinkable. From my point of view it is important to see it, not to read it. Furthermore not to add additional objects to the chart and to reserve colours for highlighting and deviations. Of course the scaling notation must work for all chart types recommended by IBCS for visualisation of absolute values.

As you can see in the attachment, my approach is easy and not very spectacular: Adding dots to the axis to symbolize how many decimal places have been shifted. Therefore 3 dots symbolize thousands, 6 dots millions and 9 dots billions forming groups of three.


Semantic Notation Concept for Scales_ThomasTerbuch

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Ronald van Lent

Within graphs it is clear in the visualisation which variance is shown. A solid bar with a light solid axis, means the variance between the actual and a previous period. (see Fig UN 4.1). Within tables this is not clear, though we chose to have scenario as part of the headers.

To be more consistent with graphs, is it a suggestion to include base scenario in the header? This in combination with the label it is clear how the variance is calculated. So a delta PL, with a hedged header, is the variance between plan and forecast.


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