The accounting profession in this country has been very progressive and has stayed relevant in this fast-changing and complex world. Big Data has emerged as the next big opportunity for this profession. Big Data Analytics is here to stay and Chartered Accountants with the ability to analyze Big Data can play important roles in strategy and decision making. Technologists foresee a great future in this emerging knowledge domain and call upon the tech-savvy CAs to plunge into Big Data Analytics and leverage the huge opportunities available around the world.
The concept of data analytics is well established but is being given impetus by the exponential growth in the volume of data that is available from myriad sources and breakthroughs in technology that are enabling savvy businesses to harness this data commercially. For example, how Uber identifies demand for taxis at any given time or location, and the generation of surge pricing when demand outweighs supply based on major events or incidents.
Big Data brought a new-found zest for accountants who are trained in analytics as well as traditional bookkeeping skills — financial reporting, taxation, and managerial finance. Being conversant with big data, as well as gaining analytical skills, provides graduates with an edge in the job market for the foreseeable future as big data becomes central to accounting and audit.
How to Use BIgData In Chartered Accounts
Big data and analytics are enabling auditors to better identify financial reporting, fraud and operational business risks. But the technology to integrate big data and audits is still in its infancy
Data analytics has re-engineered the audit process. Accountants can now test entire data sets, such as expense claims, rather than extrapolating samples. This has increased efficiency and streamlined processes, ultimately improving the quality of audits.
The main challenges were to understand audit requirements from data analytics, as there was no one-size-fits-all solution, and how the technology fitted into existing audit methodologies.
Beyond data, the accounting professional expectation in 2018 is to have a mindset that is no longer just reactive, e.g. focusing on tax and related events, but proactive and eager to assist clients in a trusted advisory capacity on a variety of business and financial areas.
Chartered accountants, particularly those working in small- to medium-sized practices, face competition on a number of fronts: from the big global firms at one end of the spectrum to bookkeepers at the other end. Predictive accounting may assist them to be competitive and add value to their clients as they continue with their professional development education over the lifetime of their professional activities.
Chartered Accountants are trained to be good with numbers and are trusted advisers because they have a fiduciary duty. Predictive accounting simply requires a mind shift from reactive to proactive coupled with a willingness to embrace data and technology.
Another important distinction is the increasing use of big data, e.g. social media data, to help make predictions when relevant. This differs markedly from traditional forecasting associated with time series and estimating an aggregate future value based on past data. The prediction has the ability to focus on the individual customer behavior level. It also hasn’t historically been applied to the Chartered Accountant and their ability to provide commercial and financial advice.
CA Kairos is an innovative platform designed in collaboration with Chartered Accountants. It is a new innovation initiative designed as a vital step in equipping businesses, particularly small to medium-sized enterprises with access to skills and tools to access big data in a meaningful way. The programme that will bring together a collection of work streams, systems and platforms under a single umbrella encompassing.
Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the opportune moment. Now is the time for Chartered Accountants to engage in big data and predictive analytics to provide clients with enhanced business advice. CA Kairos combines professional accounting expertise with education, analytics, and machine learning to help you to enrich client experience.
It’s about leveraging accounting data and predictive analytics software to find patterns in data that a Chartered Accountant can use to predict scenarios for clients in advance, helping them to maximize opportunities and limit risks.
The intent of Kairos is to benefit clients, by helping them become more agile and competitive. It is true that the larger accounting practices have been offering similar services. Also, the technology available from vendors and the open source community no longer requires each accounting practice to have data scientists with deep analytical skills.