February 18, 2014

Big data has potential to "reshape" accounting and finance professions, says Director of Policy for ACCA

TORONTO--Big data, the vast amounts of information collected through devices and technologies, has the potential to "reshape" the accounting and finance professions by providing them with an opportunity to move into more strategic roles in business, says Ewan Willars, Director of Policy for ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

The term big data is commonly used, but not commonly understood. It refers primarily to data continually collected through credit cards and customer loyalty cards, the internet and social media and, increasingly, WiFi sensors and electronic tags. Much of this data is 'unstructured' - data that doesn't conform to a specific, pre-defined data model.

"Big data offers accounting and finance professionals a stunning opportunity," says Willars. "However, in order to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and turn big data to their advantage, they will need to do three things:

1) develop methods and services for the valuation of data,

2) use big data to offer more specialized decision-making support and

3) employ it to evaluate the risks and rewards of long-term investment in new products and new markets."

Willars will share his insights on big data, which are featured in a recent ACCA and IMA report at an event for senior finance professionals in Toronto on Wednesday, February 19th.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants with 162,000 members and 428,000 students in 170 countries worldwide. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.



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