Resolutions are always the buzzword during the start of January. We are already 27 days into the new year and it seems like everyone is either finalising them, started working on them or tracking their progress. This year is even more special as it is the start of a new decade – Belated Happy New Year!
With this year starting, I had the honour to share my thoughts with other professionals in the American Institute of Management Accountants’ Forbe’s article “What Does 2020 Hold for Management Accountants?” released on the first working Monday of the year (6th January 2020) and written by Jeff Thompson, President and CEO of the Institute.
In Jeff’s article and as always, he demonstrates the Institute of Management Accountants leadership in the Finance profession through highlighting the areas of focus for professionals to work on in 2020. In my article today I will shed some more light on my comment regarding Data Analytics.
Let me first start with sharing what I mentioned in the article:
“From my perspective, management accounting is impacted by the massive advance in the area of Data Analytics,” says Fatema El-Wakeel, CMA, finance business partner for data analytics at a U.K.-based luxury car manufacturer. “Data Analytics involves things like Data Engineering and cleansing, modelling and of course delivering the message through visualization…Technology has enabled management accountants to deliver on-the-the job more efficiently and effectively, which will be needed for [the profession] to advance in 2020.”
With Data Analytics moving very fast, Finance is impacted and able to utilise it more. Below are more details regarding my suggested area of focus for Finance Analytics in 2020:
Data Engineering and Automation: Data manipulation and cleansing takes a lot of time in Finance. Having worked in different companies, it is normally because of the many systems that the company has. This can include legacy or up to date systems that don’t speak to each other. You will find the supplier database not linked to the purchasing or warehousing ERP for example, Finance end up using excel to clean this data and create reports. With the Advance in the profession a lot of things now can be automated using robotics. A BOT can easily be programmed to save the finance professionals time and allow them to participate in more value adding tasks.
Modelling: Modelling is a great Finance focus with Finance professionals doing budgets, plans and business cases. What if the product launch got delayed? How will that affect production? How will that impact suppliers and penalties? What is the probability of this delay given our experience with previous launches in certain markets. Can we understand what delayed our product launches in each of our markets previously?
Sounds like familiar questions I know, been there and worked through them. Using Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics, Finance can add value to the business through business partnering with other departments understanding root causes and modelling scenarios and probabilities.
Visualisation: To be able to deliver a message which is a key part of Finance job, visualisation and reporting are important. With the technology and tools available now, the ability to tailor the message to each member of the audience and present dry numbers became easier and more interactive. Tools like Tableau, Power BI, Data Studio and others made reporting more engaging for creators and receivers.
We have been speaking about those areas for a while but given the change in Finance landscape and that we are speaking about what to expect in 2020, thought to share more details about my comment in the article with you in my blog.
What do you think about Data Analytics and Finance or the new area that some refer to as Finance Analytics? Let me know your thoughts and experience!