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7 reasons why your practice needs robust data governance

Jan 30, 2021 | Advisors

Collecting and storing data is only one part of the equation. To get real value for your practice, you need to analyse that data and use it. Wasted data is not only a disservice to your organisation, it could be detrimental to your long-term success.

To realise the true benefits of data, here are the key steps to building a data governance program.

1. Assign a leader

As much as collaboration is the buzzword of the modern workplace, major business transitions need a leader – or leadership team – to steer the ship. In the best-case scenario, your practice will have an on-site IT department that can manage the development of your data governance program from start to finish. However, it may be equally wise to pick a leader who is somewhat removed from the ins and outs of analysing data. Your CFO, for example, will look at the data as an asset rather than just a responsibility.

2. Conduct an audit

Your practice is probably already using data in many different ways – even if you’re not deriving all of its value. So the next step is to review your processes to find out what sort of data governance structures you already have in place, no matter how bare-bones. Common things may be that you have a system for information management. Once you know what you have, you can start uncovering what you need.

3. Get buy-in from your team

This may be the most difficult assignment of them all. Change isn’t always looked upon happily, especially in a practice that has been doing the same thing for a long time. But you need your data governance leader to give your people a vision of the future: with the right data-driven processes, they will be able to work smarter, not harder. The practice itself will also have an incredible amount of information to draw on to streamline operations and give your clients exactly what they want.

4. Get everything aligned

Now it’s time to align your idea for data governance with everything else in your practice. For example, because you ultimately want to create profits, you’ll need to develop a financial value statement for the data governance program, as well as how you will measure it against KPIs. The key here is to document everything relevant – this will allow you to set the baseline performance metrics for your program so you can measure its impact over the short and long term.

5. Define the functions and processes

Time to design your program’s functions and processes. What do you want your data governance program to accomplish? What type of information do you want to analyse? Who will have specific roles and responsibilities? These are all questions that need to be answered before deployment occurs. And remember to get buy-in from your practice’s decision-makers. Without top-down support, any data governance program is likely to fail.

6. Create a roadmap to success

Now you’ll want to outline every key step along the journey to deployment. Make sure to include all the requirements for a successful launch of your data governance program, including what data streams to integrate, the type of metrics and reporting you’ll use, as well as how and when you will roll out the program.

7. Deploy and revise (as needed)

With everything in place, it’s time to ‘go live’ with your data governance program. Ensure your leader or leadership team have everything they need to deploy, and offer support where needed for the duration of transitioning from non-governed data assets to fully governed assets.

After rollout is complete, that’s not the end of the story! You’ll want to measure the program’s effectiveness on a regular basis (using predefined metrics), and allow for minor changes wherever needed. Agility and adaptability are essential for success, so don’t feel like you need to stay locked into the same strategy you started with.

For a full whitepaper with detailed information on how to find true power in data, download it here.

If you’re ready to embrace all the benefits of being a data-driven accounting practice, contact the experts at APS today. We’ll work directly with you to understand your specific needs and set you on the path to deriving real value from your data.

To find out more about APS software, visit www.aps-software.com.

APS is a division of Reckon, an ASX listed company. We develop the software used by the best Accounting Firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their business’ and advise their clients.