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Since the days of big data advancements, no data sets have been too large or too complex to be dealt with in the accounting and finance industry. From call-centre recordings and customers’ social media posts to machine-generated data and external data feeds, empirical data has driven management accountants to the forefront of organisations and enabled them to unlock new sources of insight and value like never before.
At the same time, increasingly powerful technologies have emerged to enable more sophisticated data management and analytics. These new technologies promise to enhance security, optimise operations, and improve customer service.
In many businesses, there is a need to have the right data, the ability to analyse it, a culture where the use of data for intelligent decision making and action is expected, and the skills to ensure that insights are applied to create value. This is what we term as Data Competencies.
Simply put, the management accounting industry today needs to look beyond traditional business metrics and recognise the commercial potential of embracing data competencies.
Management of data is an area that holds much potential for development and evolution. In fact, it could possibly be a core business asset and skill for the management accountant. Data Analytics is a tool that many industries use, from social media and internet companies, to food and beverage companies, to banks, various manufacturers and hotels and so on.
How the management accounting industry translates the data at hand into areas of data competencies then, is crucial for these businesses. By doing so, it is highly likely that businesses will gain a more thorough understanding of business performance, what works and what does not, giving them the competitive edge and achieving higher returns than their competitors.
There are a lot of business and ethical debates about the meaning and use of data in various contexts. In fact, as you might have already known, everything that is digital is data. Data has become a key focus for management accountants as well, as a part of a wider shift towards a data-driven era of business.
Fortunately, with big data advancements, analysis of data sets is an absolute breeze. In many ways, collection of data is largely automated and a very basic element of computerisation. Management accountants need only to know how to work with data, adapt their focus to include big data, and understand how data insights help shape the business model rather than worrying about data collection like before.
They need to understand the inner workings of the business that are well placed to help turn new data insights into commercial advantage. This can be done by working with data specialists to drive meaningful commercial insights from corporate data.
Management accountants can help the senior management team to interpret and apply the power of that data to make better strategic decisions. All of these are imperative to show that the management accountant is pushing to become a more proactive finance strategist to the business.
Above all, management accountants will enjoy the convenience and improved usability of, and interesting insights from data enabled by big data technology solutions. Ideally, this technology will be one that plays a decisive role for many management accountants and enhances their career as well as employability in the coming years.
In summary, embracing the big data revolution for delivering new data insights is as important as pushing management accountants into new and unfamiliar areas, and requiring them to become a more proactive business strategist.