The bold new fron­tier of data

Great op­por­tu­ni­ties await ac­coun­tants in anal­y­sis, fore­cast­ing and ad­vi­sory

Accounting Today - - Spotlight - By An­toinette Alexan­der See DATA on 36

Is your firm an ad­vi­sory hero? With the right fore­cast­ing and data anal­y­sis tools, it could be. “Firms that haven’t moved in that di­rec­tion [of ad­vi­sory ser­vices] are kind of miss­ing the boat on the fact that they are sit­ting on the most pow­er­ful piece of in­for­ma­tion that their clients need help with, which is this wealth of busi­ness data,” said Made­line Reeves, di­rec­tor of mar­ket de­vel­op­ment for Fathom, a provider of man­age­ment re­port­ing and fi­nan­cial anal­y­sis tools. “They sit at this per­fect apex where they can be the trans­la­tor, essen­tially, of that in­for­ma­tion and pro­vide so much value to their clients.”

To­day’s clients are in­creas­ingly look­ing for proac­tive ad­vice. With clients’ fi­nan­cial data and ac­cess to in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy at their fin­ger­tips, ac­count­ing pro­fes­sion­als are ideally po­si­tioned to ful­fill this need and help clients make smarter busi­ness de­ci­sions.

Judg­ing by the num­bers, data is of­ten a tremen­dously un­der­uti­lized tool, and for those ac­count­ing pro­fes­sion­als look­ing to pro­vide clients higher-value ser­vices, there are sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­plore.

Pwc’s 2016 “Big De­ci­sions Sur­vey” of more than 2,100 com­pany de­ci­sion-mak­ers and lead­ers found that two-thirds (61 per­cent) of re­spon­dents ac­knowl­edged their com­pa­nies could rely on data anal­y­sis more and in­tu­ition less. “They don’t con­sider their own or­ga­ni­za­tions to be highly data-driven. This puts them at risk of be­ing sur­passed by their more data-driven com­peti­tors, given re­cent ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy and data and an­a­lyt­ics tech­niques,” the sur­vey stated.

More specif­i­cally, the sur­vey found that 56 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they mostly use de­scrip­tive (“What hap­pened?”) or di­ag­nos­tic ap­proaches (“Why did it hap­pen?”), and 29 per­cent said an­a­lyt­ics are pre­dic­tive (“What will hap­pen?”). The most so­phis­ti­cated com­pa­nies (13 per­cent) re­ported us­ing pre­scrip­tive ap­proaches (“What ac­tion should be taken?”).

“De­ci­sion-mak­ers ac­knowl­edge it’s not data or anal­y­sis that holds them back from mak­ing de­ci­sions. In­stead, they’re more likely to feel lim­ited by a whole host of other fac­tors: avail­abil­ity of re­sources, bud­getary con­sid­er­a­tions, is­sues with im­ple­men­ta­tion, lead­er­ship courage, op­er­a­tional ca­pac­ity to act, pol­icy con­straints and poor mar­ket re­sponses,” the sur­vey stated.

Mean­while, a sep­a­rate study on the small and mid­sized en­ter­prise mar­ket found that SMES are of­ten more nim­ble and able to act on in­sight quicker than their larger peers. The re­search also sug­gested that many do not shy away from tech­nol­ogy.

Ac­cord­ing to Dres­ner Ad­vi­sory Ser­vices’ 2018 “Small and Mid­sized En­ter­prise Busi­ness In­tel­li­gence Mar­ket Study,” SMES place their top­most fo­cus on ba­sic busi­ness in­tel­li­gence tech­nolo­gies such as re­port­ing and dash­boards. Small or­ga­ni­za­tions are also more likely to en­gage soft­ware-as-a-ser­vice and open-source soft­ware strate­gies.

Help­ing clients — re­gard­less of size — bet­ter un­der­stand the data they have to mit­i­gate risk and im­prove busi­ness per­for­mance can help ac­count­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.