The Internet and the associated computing technology boom have completely changed the face of information available for businesses. Status updates, tweets, comments, likes, photos and videos are openly shared on social media revealing valuable insights into customer behaviours and preferences for the tech savvy business.
For professions such as accounting, alongside the exponential growth of these kinds of useful social information, various other kinds of publicly accessible information including press releases, interviews with executives, editorial notes, news articles, management reports, etc can also help shed greater light on client practices and guide decisions about professional projects.
'Big Data', the umbrella term for the vast troves of information that is currently available and which includes the above, is now increasingly being analysed by companies for productivity and profit gains.
Much of this data is unstructured though, not conforming to a specific pre-defined data model and instead requiring significant capabilities of aggregation and correlation to reveal useful, actionable information. With Big Data increasingly being represented by such unstructured information, not being able to tap into it can be detrimental to the company of the future.
Especially at risk are professions such as accounting and those in the financial sectors as these have more traditionally been based around structured data in the form of tables, Excel sheets and financial reports.
Additionally, employees in these professions have also been wary of embracing new developments that may help tackle such data, daunted by the seeming difficulty of understanding and applying new computational techniques and tools.
As a result, current ways of accounting can start to become outmoded pretty quickly if avenues to adapt aren’t explored as most information of the future shall be of the unstructured kind.
On the other hand, smartly tapping into it can elevate the profession into a more prominent business analytics role guiding future strategies and performance outlooks.
Read our next article to find how accounting can benefit from cracking Big Data.
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