Data Analytics: Staying competitive in a data-driven world

As accounting technology becomes more automated, the role of accountants is shifting from that of a technical to that of a consultant and business advisor. It’s a role that certainly requires new skill sets, including stronger analytical skills. As the Journal of Accountancy article, The Next Frontier in Data Analytics, pointed out, CPAs increasingly find themselves performing tasks that require skills in data analysis. For example:

  • Internal and external auditors use data analytics for practices such as continuous monitoring, continuous auditing and analysis of full data sets in situations where only samples were audited previously
  • Financial planning and analysis professionals analyze data in hopes of discovering the best course of action for their organizations
  • CFOs and finance leaders use big data to identify patterns in customer behavior as well as market trends to influence company strategy

4 type of data analytics

The article also goes on to identify four types of data analytics:

  • Descriptive analytics. Provides insight based on past performance. What is happening?
  • Diagnostic analytics. Examines the cause of past results. Why did it happen?
  • Predictive analytics. Assists in understanding the future and provides foresight by identifying patterns in historical data. What will happen? When and why?
  • Prescriptive analytics. Assists in identifying the best option to choose to achieve the desired outcome through optimization techniques and machine learning. What should we do?

Accountants already use descriptive and diagnostic analytics to identify trends in a client’s financial statements and unusual items that require further investigation, but the changing roles will require accountants to take their use of data analysis further.

With this in mind, many firms have answered the call by investing in a technology ecosystem that is holistic and does not silo data. But now, with a wealth of data at their fingertips, the question is what to do with the data they have and how to turn it into actionable advice for clients.

From hindsight to foresight

Until now, the path to move from hindsight (descriptive) through insight (diagnostic and predictive) and into foresight (prescriptive) has been lacking. So with that in mind, Wolters Kluwer partnered with Boomer Consulting, Inc. to create the Data Analytics Accelerator. In this a one-and-a-half day workshop, attendees will learn from experts in the field to gain a clear understanding of the strategies for managing firm data, learn how to leverage the tools available to you and leave with a plan of action for your firm.

Topics covered will include:

  • Available tools
  • Accessing and governance of data
  • An understanding of the Analytical Maturity Path
  • Why it’s critical that a data be “clean”
  • Analytical models and emerging technologies that collectively make up a firm’s data strategy

If you are interested in fast-tracking your knowledge and progress around data analytics, register for the Data Analytics Accelerator today. Because being more consultative to your clients is about more than reporting on what they have. It’s about determining what your clients need and knowing where to find it.  View the Agenda & Objectives and register today.