Data analytics: your new retirement fund?
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Data analytics: your new retirement fund?

9 months ago · 3 min read · AICPA Insights Blog

As we go beyond the precipice of an increasingly tech-savvy world, understanding and applying data analytics is fundamental to any organization wishing to grow its business and develop a successful medium-to-long-term revenue strategy.

Forbes described data analytics as sales gold, and the topic continues to gain interest. Read on below as we detail a comprehensive takeaway of the key topics covered in part one of the three-part webcast series, Data Analytics: Best Practices — Integration and Tools.

Data quality is vital, so spend time developing it. Transforming raw data into a digital asset takes time

The purpose of data analytics is to drive data to key parties so they can make timely decisions in a fast-paced, convoluted world full of seemingly never-ending facts and figures.

To achieve an attractive rate of return on any data sample, which in some cases can be as much as 1300%, scale and complexity are significant determinants when leveraging data for financial gain.

Know your data sources — mapping data is vital

Develop a complete and thorough understanding of every data source. From accounts to CRM, POS portals, inventory management and through to HR, the list is designed to be extensive and show complete visualizations of the data.

Without knowing the data sources, sound data analytics research takes on a new level of complexity.

Relevant data and the repository it goes through are key. Even external data sources, such as public online information, can be vital in forming a successful data analytics program.

Don't complicate your programs. Begin with a user-friendly cloud/on-premise platform before adopting established banking data warehouse technologies

On-premise is a term used for an in-house data center.

On the other hand, cloud platforms are secured with a high level of encryption from a variety of entities that share the same computer resource.

Due to their compatibility and cost-effectiveness, starting with these programs is often advised.

A cloud or on-premise program ensures a more rounded and easy-to-follow introduction to building a successful and cost-effective data analytics strategy.

Always separate transactional and analytical systems

Transactional analytics is the bread and butter of all business data (accounts, accounts payable etc.).

A company’s transactions per second (TPS) system is measured by how soon it can retrieve financial data (some systems can collect data from the last minute whilst others may be from the previous day) and is useful for analyzing short-term sales.

However, an effective analytical processing system with easy-to-follow charts, graphs and well-presented facts and figures can often boost sales in the medium-to-long term.

Core data analytics is taking data from transactional systems and transforming it into well-presented analytical frameworks of discussion. This leads to faster transaction processing and better insights.

Identify what constitutes good analytical data. Is it reliable, relevant and unique?

Low-quality data will yield poor outcomes. If the data quality isn't good, revenue generation will be adversely impacted. That's what makes data analytics both an interesting challenge and a daunting one.

Data visualization is key. Presenting esoteric information, which data analytics undoubtedly falls under, in a clear and visually appealing format can help convince company leaders that that the data is intriguing and worth their time.

The speakers

Three experts guided viewers who role-played several scenarios of how data analytics could play out in the real world of commerce.

They included:

  • Sri Ponnapalli — In a distinguished career spanning some 20 years, his passion for leveraging technology to scale businesses knows no bounds. Having also spent eight years as an entrepreneur, he described the future of data analytics as bright indeed:

    "For every dollar invested in data analytics, companies can get 13 dollars in return."

  • Martin Facing, CFA, shares the same passion. He waxed lyrically regarding the myriad ways data analytics is already at the forefront of an ever-evolving financial instrument for accounting and finance professionals.

    As founder of Drive ACT LLC, Martin brought his years of expertise to act the role of Chief Data Officer for the webcast.

  • Jim Gilbert, CPA/CITP, CGMA,

    took on the position of many viewers, that of the business owner. Using his first-hand skills in the financial and accounting profession, he discovered how these treasure troves of data could transform an entire enterprise.

You can find a range of introductory AICPA certificates and products on our website including:

  • Data Analytics Foundations Certificate (Level: Basic)

  • Data Analytics Core Concept Certificate (Level Basic)

  • Data Power Pack

Our profession-renowned beginner courses could be the perfect next step to discover more about where strong data analytics knowledge can take you.

Hugo Johnson-Driscoll, BA

Hugo Johnson-Driscoll is a content writer at AICPA & CIMA, representing the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

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