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Analytics and Big Data: Big Impact On The Accountancy Profession

As the world goes into stages of lockdown, the Internet is thriving with a slew of online events, webinars, virtual summits, Global Conversations and more. More and more people are slowly sifting through quality content and choosing their time slots of the day to avail themselves to new knowledge. What is more crucial would be the need to learn something useful that can be applied at work to maintain their employability during these trying times. 

A buzzword that has made an appearance over the past few years: big data, is being circulated ever so widely right about now. Online shows are now making topics out of it and audiences have filled those respective Question & Answer sessions with: how does big data help me? Let’s explore a little further specifically into the world of accounting. 

“Calculators are friends we all need.”
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The history of accounting has been around for as long as anyone can remember and it can be traced back to ancient civilisations. In basic terms, accounting itself is a system of recording and summarising business and financial transactions. No one has ever said the future of accounting wasn’t a bright one. In fact, it can be considered a relatively evergreen profession. What’s more important is the fact the industry is also rapidly evolving with the rise of technology. 

How Does Big Data and Accountancy Work Together?

“Descriptive analytics makes for easier discussions.”
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Big data experts live by the following pillars: volume, variety, velocity, veracity (and you might consider a fifth, value.). The definition of big data is more than just the quantity of information. The crux of this revolution is “It’s what organisations do with the data that matters. It can be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves”, as pointed out by SAS. This is precisely what makes big data relevant to the accounting profession. 

Accounting firms, small or large, have access to a goldmine of data. Big data impacts nearly all fronts of tax, auditing, advisory and accounting. The real question is how can firms can tap into that undiscovered value and revenue that is right under their noses? 

Business Performance Tracking

“We are faced with decisions every day.”
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With an overview of a set of data, accounting professionals are able to produce meaningful performance benchmarks. Accountants can now show clients how and why their competitors are outperforming them and what should strategically be the next move in order to get ahead of the game. As we rise with the best that technology has to offer, real-time reporting can easily be done and this will allow accounting firms to offer higher-value services such as cash-flow management and budget forecasting. Data-driven decision-making at its finest will save leaders from the potential pain and regret down the road if all they have been doing all these years are using their gut feel or instinct to take the next step.

A Hybrid Professional

“The only way is forward.”
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According to Faye Chua, ACCA’s Head of Future Research, ‘Big data can offer accountants and finance professionals the possibility of reinvention, the chance to take a more strategic, “future-facing” role in organisations,’. 

This tells us that one must have both the tools and skillsets to use big data in order to gain insights about business issues critical to move forward. Especially since we are all living in this post-pandemic economy, no one can afford to make a mistake in making a choice. 

It is time to stop doubting what technology can do for us and start taking actions to embrace how it can propel us forward. You can begin by kickstarting a data-driven culture organisation for individual and business growth. 

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