FRESH DATA: Big Data to Play Larger Role in Accounting


Artificial intelligence, blockchain, and machine learning will also see their roles increasing according to a report from the Institute of Management Accountants.

A new report reveals that accountants feel that technologies like real-time analytics, machine learning, AI and blockchain will have an increased role in their workflows in 2020. The Institute of Management Accountants surveyed its members and 170 CFOs and other management accountants responded and said they see big changes coming. Data science is being increasingly adopted to improve data governance and analytics capabilities. The respondents said it will continue to be necessary for accountants to keep pace with the changing technology and develop the skills needed to make the best use of it.

See also: Big Data Battle Shifts Fronts

“Four key elements must be present for organizations looking to become data-driven: data-savvy people, quality data, state-of-the-art tools, and a supportive organizational culture,” according to the report.

The report stated that the number of companies deploying big data will exceed the adoption rate of data visualization and process automation. The IMA said getting big data adoption right involves key items such as:

  • Starting simple and small when first implementing Big Data projects.
  • Expanding the sources of data used and exploring potential uses not only of data available internally but also of data available externally.
  • Getting information based on data into the hands of those who need it on a real-time basis.
  • Getting buy-in for Big Data and leading-edge analytics initiatives at both the executive and departmental levels.
  • Developing strategies for the effective use of leading-edge analytics techniques and technologies.
  • Building strong data governance and quality infrastructure in order to ensure data integrity and quality.

“One of the big takeaways was the number of companies deploying Big Data is expected to double in the near future, and the potential to improve organizational performance is very significant for those organizations,” said Raef Lawson, professor-in-residence and vice president of research and policy at the IMA. “The rate at which companies are deploying Big Data is even greater than some other hot technologies such as data visualization or robotic process automation, which isn’t to say they’re mutually exclusive. Companies using leading-edge analytics can have a significant advantage compared to their competitors. With the evolution of analytical tools, all organizations — regardless of size — need to start going down the analytics road in order to remain competitive.”

The IMA said they plan to offer a Data Analytics and Visualization Foundational Certificate to assist accounts in keeping up with the rapidly changing technology. They’ve also revamped their Management Accounting Competency Framework to include more training on analytics and related technologies. Their Certified Management Accountant Exam has also been revised to include an analytics section.

Sue Walsh

About Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh is News Writer for RTInsights, and a freelance writer and social media manager living in New York City. Her specialties include tech, security and e-commerce. You can follow her on Twitter at @girlfridaygeek.

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