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Accounting & Audit

See the Data, Be the Data

The accounting profession is growing and evolving in the same way. The amount of data available has increased exponentially over the years. Taking advantage of this evolution gives CPAs the power to do more for their clients.

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Bring up “data” or “analytics,” and you might start to see eyes glaze over. But more and more industries are recognizing the power of data. For example, the Oakland Athletics showed just how powerful data could be when they used analytics to evaluate underutilized players. With these analytics, the team made its way to the playoffs while working on a small budget, and the game was forever changed.

The accounting profession is growing and evolving in the same way. The amount of data available has increased exponentially over the years. Taking advantage of this evolution gives CPAs the power to do more for their clients. If data can be harnessed and utilized, CPAs can better identify strengths and weaknesses in businesses and improve growth.

Look for New Ways to Use Data

Working with client data is old hat for CPAs. That doesn’t mean the way data is used should never change, though. Don’t get complacent with your skill set and use the same old data to put out the same old advice. Learn to dig deeper for more meaningful data and find new ways to use that data for your clients’ benefit.

Big data is becoming increasingly vital to CPA firms. In fact, the number of firms relying on big data is expected to double in the near future. Don’t wait for this trend to become the norm before you get on board. Build up your firm’s ability to effectively analyze key data to become a strategy whiz for your clients.

Use Visual Reports

You can see and understand your clients’ data, but it doesn’t help them if you can’t translate what you know for them. Help your clients to see the data as well as you can. Use visual reporting software to create a financial story that speaks to your clients.

Studies have shown that 75 percent of the information that the brain takes in is from visual sources. Using informative visuals in your reporting not only creates a more engaging product but it increases your client’s ability to process and retain the new information as well.

Give Real-Time Information

We live in a world with 24-hour news channels, email on the smartphone in your pocket, and apps that will get food delivered to your doorstep in minutes. Other industries have evolved to provide people with instant gratification, and tools are now available to help CPAs do the same for their clients.

Visual reports create great roadmaps to show where a client’s business needs to go and how to get there. Use client dashboards to keep their data at the forefront and give real-time updates. Think of the dashboard as their voice navigation that helps keep them on track.

Give New Tech a Try

You’re old school, and you don’t need fancy new programs to compile and analyze data. That’s a great sentiment, but why spend more time and energy on the dirty work than you have to? The accounting world doesn’t rely on the abacus any longer because better tools came along.

Take advantage of the technology available to help gather and work with data so you can spend more time on the fun stuff: figuring out how that data can help your clients. Cloud services can streamline the collection of client data and allow more-efficient analysis. As a result, clients have constant access to personalized information that helps them make day-to-day decisions to build their business for the future.

There is more data available to CPAs now than ever before. As you put that data to use to serve your clients, your insights will be vital for strategic financial planning. Take advantage of critical data and use improved technology to put it to work to add value for the businesses you serve.