Data Analytics and Data Visualisation were the theme for the recent CA Catalyst workshops on in Australia and New Zealand. I participated on the panel in Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga.
It was great to see CA Catalyst take a leadership position to empower Chartered Accountants through innovation positioning in the tech space and being vendor agnostic.
I have been a CA for 40 years and what CA Catalyst is doing is refreshing. I was finding CAANZ programmes were becoming stale and have been going education events not put on by CAANZ in the technology space. I haven’t seen many CAs at any of these events.
What I Learned on the Data Analytics and Data Visualisation Roadshow
- Accountants need to get on the Microsoft Power BI train for data analytics and data visualisation
- It is all about good visualisation and storytelling. The “clucking good eggs” example in Auckland was my pick of the visualisations – all pictures, no numbers but told the story well
- Technology is going to be an enabler to help CAs in public practice to invert the focus from the traditional finance function to the new paradigm. As an ex CFO from corporate, this is not a new focus for corporates.
- The pacesetters for data analytics in corporate/commercial are years ahead of the pacesetters in CA practices in the SME market.
- The pacesetter CA firms in the SME market are sacrificing billable hours to train their younger teams up on the new BI technology and financial modelling. All CA firms are still very busy with compliance work that, despite all the scaremongering, is not going away any time soon, especially for those that don’t have a base of micro clients.
- Partners and Directors need to pass on their financial modelling skills and experience to the younger ones who ideally have business analyst and data visualisation training and backgrounds. This will free up time for partners to uncover more advisory opportunities.
- Very few CA firms in ANZ servicing the SME market are hiring data graduates to get on the opportunities for data analytics and data visualisation. Data science, engineering and analytics is a new profession. It’s not a DIY learning job for accountants do a couple of courses in and be an expert in it. Its complex and there’s a steep learning curve for the data engineering and data science piece.
- Excel experts should be able to pick up Power BI easily
- Analytics is a new revenue opportunity for CAs servicing the mid-market. Their clients are often frustrated with poor reporting from legacy systems and challenged with reporting across multiple systems. Most are living in Excel hell for regular reporting.
- The “cookie cutter” reporting solutions are just not working for CAs’ bigger SME clients. They have limited flexibility, are more focused on month end results and can’t go deep in transactional data, especially non-financial data. We know as we have used or evaluated all of them in the last 5 years.
- Software research companies Gartner and Forester have both positioned Microsoft Power BI as a leader in the Wave for Enterprise BI Platforms.
- With the rapid growth of Power BI the insights and intelligence that can be unfolded with becomes mind-blowing. The truth is this: if you get very good with Power BI you automatically have super powers to do great analysis that could’ve cost a fortune.
- Power BI is not a standalone solution for a number of reasons. Click here to see why.
- Technology is just an enabler. Understanding the problem, you are trying to solve is first; technology second.
- Big Data is just noise without focusing on what matters, actionable insights and making it easy to drive performance using visualisation and story telling
- Great insight from Kat Greenbrook: 8% of males are colour blind so red and green traffic lights on your dashboards look the same
To see see a copy of my presentation on “Using Business Intelligence to Drive Business Performance and Productivity,” click here.
Big thanks to CAANZ, Jeremy Rowe Sunny Sirjahan Sirabas Heather Smith CA, FCCA, FICB for making all of this happen.
Thanks also to the other thought leaders on the events: Lance Rubin, Cameron Lynch, Kat Greenbrook.
I’m looking forward to next year and helping more CAs and businesses jump starting their analytics journey.
If you’d like us to help jump start your journey get in touch today!