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Top considerations for leveraging analytics in your firm

Sep 28, 2021 | Tips

Integrating artificial intelligence and predictive analytics solutions into your firm should be approached in the same way as other major overhauls, such as an organisation’s digital transformation. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t be surprised if your accounting firm isn’t dramatically transformed overnight with AI and PA.

To help understand what it takes to turn your traditional office into an analytics-driven practice, a joint study by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), Analytics in Finance and Accountancy, reveals what you should focus on.

1. Data governance and management

You need to begin with a very clear intent about what you want your data to add to the business. This will inform how you collect data and derive insights from it. At the same time, think about how you can minimise data waste – that is, collecting information for which no users exist.

Security and management are also paramount for data collection. To reduce risks as much as possible, avoid using sensitive PII (personally identifiable information) during data analysis. To ensure proper practices are always followed, it’s also recommended that you create a ‘data playbook’ that educates staff on how to correctly use, analyse and manage data streams.

2. Accessible big data

Various data streams may seem far too removed from each other to provide any true relevance – for example, your firm’s financial and operational data. But combining these can give you incredible insight and open up new strategies you’ve not thought about before.

You want your big data to be accessible now, not several months or years down the track. So focus on creating a catalogue of valuable external data sources that complement your internal data streams. Regularly refreshing these sources will ensure new data streams are identified and captured in a timely manner.

It’s also important to think about data collection holistically. For example, in departments of your firm where analytics have not previously been required or relevant, you can train your teams to adopt business intelligence (BI) techniques to improve their decision-making.

3. Change isn’t ‘set-and-forget’

In order to truly embrace the power of analytics in your firm, your entire organisation needs to change its outlook – from a data-ignorant mindset to a data-driven one.

To achieve this, education is the key. Start by rolling out a data literacy program that helps your team understand this change isn’t ‘set-and-forget’. Because artificial intelligence and predictive analytics technologies are constantly evolving, your training needs to stay relevant as well.

If you find there is resistance to this change, it must be attended to immediately. You can gain buy-in from these individuals by training them to overcome any lack of knowledge around existing technologies. A soft approach that reveals the benefits of analytics – and the resistor’s role in gleaning insights from them – will help set up your firm for success.

If you’re ready to use artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to drive your firm forward, we’re here to help. APS will arm you with innovative technology solutions so you can turn knowledge and understanding of your data and business trends into value for your clients. This allows you to focus on what’s most important: providing outstanding advisory services to your clients, through accurate data and strategic insights, to help cultivate long-term success. Contact us today or call (+61) 2 9965 1300 to request a demo and find out more.

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.