The one certainty in life is change. What you study today is not necessarily what you will need as your career progresses. This has never been truer than today where all professions appear to be at risk of becoming irrelevant unless they can continuously reinvent themselves to stay significant. The accountant of today is seen as being critical to the management of a company because of the rigorous training that they receive. You don’t become a qualified accountant by accident but only through hard work and application. When you study, you not only learn the skills taught but also the ability to discern and make judgements from complex environments and use that judgement to provide advice. This skill will always be in demand; the issue is whether technology can provide us with additional or better information from which we are able to apply judgement. As many of you will already be aware, the nature of computing and data management is fundamentally changing.
Access to sources of data and the ability to manipulate it is ever easier and cheaper. Traditionally, most data available to management, at least at a tactical and operational level, has been internal and quite limited; this is no longer the case. We hear about the data stores of Amazon and Google and how they provide these behemoths with an understanding of their markets previously unavailable. At a more prosaic level, this is the case for all companies. How a company gathers, stores and uses data will be critical to its future success.
How do you keep yourself relevant within this environment? The most important thing is to ensure that you understand the changes happening and how they will impact on your current and future roles. We have started to offer free data science courses to our accounting students to do just that. Students will learn how to better use data to provide effective information upon which decisions may be made. We also look at the importance of how you provide the information, with a move away from regular monthly reporting cycles to a more ad hoc and immediate reporting process which identifies and addresses issues as they arise.
Sooner rather than later, data science will be fundamental to the accounting function and this will be reflected within the examination process. We don’t think you can wait that long; by being ahead of the curve you may take advantage of being a leader rather than a follower. We are currently working on further courses that focus on more specific issues such as an understanding of data science and machine learning; how to better understand the data you have analysed; and how best to report the insights to management in a manner that is understandable and prompts action.
You have the opportunity to take action rather than being buffeted by change. Take advantage of our free data science course to gain some understanding of the new paradigm. Terms and conditions apply. Please speak to an advisor for more information: 020 3005 6336
This article was written by Rob Sowerby.
Data Scientists can earn up to £73,559 (The Royal Society, Dynamics of Data Science Skills report), this can be more when combined with an accounting qualification.
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