We’ve come a long way from the traditional methods of accessing data – back when we were flipping through filing cabinets and poring through a dozen floppy disks before finding the right report. In fact, we have access to more data today than we know what to do with – the rate of data production in 2021 alone peaked at 79 zettabytes, and that figure is predicted to eclipse 181 zettabytes of data in 2025.
So how can any accounting practice parse such huge swathes of data in order to find tangible insights? Automation.
Making the most of what you have
Like many industries that have embraced digital transformation in recent years, accounting practices have access to an incredible amount of data. When leveraged intelligently, the insights gleaned can improve decision-making and support future endeavours.
But before you can visualise and interact with the data, you have to make sure it’s the right data that is being delivered. There’s where automation comes into its own – by helping practices get the right information, delivered to the right people, in the right format, at the right time.
The biggest benefit of automation when it comes to data management is its ability to reduce errors. Within the most appropriate data governance framework, which is essential for any accounting practice that houses large amounts of data from various sources, automation drives predictive and prescriptive analysis.
This is because the human element is removed. And when error-prone people aren’t sorting through the data, errors are eliminated from the equation. But beyond this factor, accountants simply shouldn’t be wasting their valuable time on manually extracting, transforming and modelling large data sets. With the right automation solution implemented, they can instead use that time on creative and client-facing tasks – thereby boosting your practice’s bottom line.
Overcoming the fear of big data
For more established practices, especially those that are more traditional or still use legacy systems, the idea of sorting through endless reams of data can be intimidating. But in order to survive in the digital future, every accounting practice must embrace a data-driven approach.
Once you begin the journey, the immense scale of data that your practice accumulates over the course of a day, week, month or year simply becomes negligible. Instead of being unable to see the forest for the trees, you learn to trust the software that is managing your data and start to take advantage of the incredible opportunities that data automation provides. Not only does it free time-strapped IT teams and data analysts from manual and repetitive tasks, but it also means your accounting team can get all the information they need to improve their output – without any roadblocks.
Finding value in your data strategy
Whether or not your practice has a dedicated Chief Data Officer, most individuals who are responsible for managing data say their top priority is to define the right strategy in line with their company’s data and analytics. Central to this are the four ‘V’s of big data:
But as data capabilities evolve, there’s a fifth ‘V’ being added to the equation – and automation is driving it forward: Value.
Biggest benefits of automation
Automation-powered platforms that can manage big data and deliver more insightful visualisations to accounting practices are already a reality – and the opportunities created by automated data delivery are vast:
- Intelligent automation systems can analyse data that is both difficult and time-consuming for humans to analyse.
- Automating these data and analytics tasks means you can free up your team to focus on more important, client-focused jobs – saving time and resources.
- Instead of data scientists using their entire days analysing your practice’s never-ending stream of big data, automation frees them up to generate new insights to deliver business benefits.
With speed being critically important in modern data management, automation can unlock your practice’s success. A powerful solution like APS Practice IQ can help automate how your data is analysed, visualised and delivered. This results in your team getting data-driven insights faster, which they can leverage to make smarter and more timely decisions – without losing large chunks of their workday to non-automated data analysis.
APS is a product of The Access Group. We develop the software used by the best accounting firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their businesses and advise their clients.