In the next last year

Lera* says: Us Europeans write from left to right. That is also how we imagine time. Earlier is left. Later is right. Arabs write from right to left. Earlier is right. Later is left. Aborigines draw. Earlier is in the East.

Annual reports are for Euro-Arabian Aborigines. Funny. Sometimes, earlier is in the back. Sometimes, earlier is in the front. Have a look:

Daten zur T-Aktie, 2011 und 2010. Quelle: Deutsche Telekom AG, Geschäftsbericht 2011, Seite 46.
Source: Deutsche Telekom AG, Annual report 2011, page 46.

Some say: Important belongs in the front. Financial year is important. So, in the front. Previous year in the back. Well…

Finanzdaten der Deutschen Telekom AG für 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 und 2005. Quelle: Deutsche Telekom AG, Geschäftsbericht 2011, Seite U2.
Source: also there, page U2.

Many years? You find them turned around as well. Meow.

T-Aktie gegen DAX, Dow jones Euro STOXX 50 und Dow Jones STOXX Telecommunications, 1. Jnauar bis 31. Dezember 2011. Quelle: Deutsche Telekom AG, Geschäftsbericht 2011, Seite 48.
Source: from there again, page 48.

Time series? You won’t find them turned around. You find them from left to right. From earlier to later. How it belongs. Woof.

Daten zur T-Aktie, 2010 und 2011. Daten: Deutsche Telekom AG, Geschäftsbericht 2011, Seite 46. Redesign: ich.
Redesign: me.

Previous year left, financial year right. Does it work just as well? Even better. First: how it was. Then: how it is.

Finanzdaten der Deutschen Telekom AG für 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 und 2011. Daten: Deutsche Telekom AG, Geschäftsbericht 2011, Seite U2. Redesign: ich.
Redesign: me.

Previous years left, financial year right. Does it work just as well? No. A lot better. First: how it was. Then: how it is.

Who thinks like this, also sees the brackets. In the last column compared to the previous year (in German: Veränderung zum Vorjahr). Nice trick. Brackets instead of minus. Did you fall for it?

* Boroditsky, Lera: How Language Shapes Thought, Scientific American, February 2011, page 63.