HOW TECHNOLOGY IS DRIVING A CHANGE IN THE ROLE OF THE CPA
Traditionally focused on accounting data, Finance increasingly has a central role in the analysis of all corporate data. This natural transformation requires broadening the skills of CPAs in the analysis and valorization of the organization's information assets. This article explains how this transformation can be achieved as well as the change management issues to mitigate.
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The advent of cloud-based analytics technologies has given organizations the momentum needed to launch digital transformation initiatives. The promises of these new technologies hold out the promise of a world where freeing up access to information assets will finally make it possible to operate processes more quickly and efficiently. Surprisingly, it is Finance groups and CPAs who are best positioned to take advantage of these new capabilities because they are the ones with the skills necessary to implement them.
The needs of CPAs
Today's CPAs increasingly have:
The need for valid and consistent information : CPAs are asked to constantly check the numbers and make sure they balance. They are naturally predisposed and trained for this kind of work, which for them is not a chore as it might be for others.
The need for access to detail to explain discrepancies: CPAs naturally go to the smallest level of detail when it is necessary to ensure the validity of a number. They know how to find the original transactions and reconstruct the consolidated figures from them.
The need to correlate all kinds of information: CPAs need access to more than just general ledger transactions, such as information from sales, inventory, and purchases. They have the necessary skills to know how to process this information in order to reconcile it with that of the financial results.
The issues faced by CPAs
The common way to meet all of these needs is to request data extracts from IT, and then try to consolidate everything in Microsoft Excel. However, although being a powerful tool, Excel imposes significant constraints which limit what is possible to do, for example:
Volumetry: Excel sheets are limited on the number of records they can store.
File size: Excel files become more and more unstable as their sizes increase.
Automation: the automation of updating Excel files is fragile and difficult to monitor in an operational production context.
Security: Excel files contain data that is difficult to secure properly.
Options available to help CPAs
A first option for the most tech-savvy CPAs is to expand their skills by adding notions formerly reserved for IT professionals, among other things at the level of databases, analytical modeling, and automation of analytical solutions. These new skills will allow them to use more powerful and better adapted tools than Microsoft Excel, such as Microsoft Power BI. However, we must not neglect the efforts and investments required for the final production of these solutions, as well as the tendency they have to gradually divert time and energy not towards creativity but rather towards tasks to be completed with lower added value such as support, performance optimization, and maintenance
A second option for CPAs is to use solutions such as Swift Finance which allows access to detailed information across the entire organization in an efficient manner, without worrying about mechanical considerations related to automation, transformation and modeling. This allows an optimal division of roles and responsibilities of each person; CPAs focus on high value-added tasks such as data exploitation using more flexible analytical capabilities, while IT specialists focus on lower value-added tasks such as implementation and operation of analytical mechanics.
Nous avons montré que l'évolution de la technologie va induire un changement vers un rôle plus analytique pour les CPA, et que deux options sont possibles pour accélérer ce changement. Notre solution Swift Finance est tout spécialement conçue pour aider les CPA à développer leurs compétences analytiques sans les contraintes habituelles.