What’s the buzz with Big Data, and what does it mean to us as tax and accounting professionals?
Big data, the cloud, artificial intelligence, API’s…all terms we see, but it’s hard to know what’s relevant to your firm and where to invest our learning resources. This article is my best attempt to connect the dots in answer to the many who ask, “Really, what does it mean to me in my day-to-day?” And to tell you what’s ready now to enhance our service offerings.
First, the ability to harness Big Data is changing the way we work, by providing insights never obtainable in the past. Today advanced systems perform analytics to decipher and find new correlations that give us value. Analysis of big data can spot business trends, prevent diseases, and combat crime. All industries and professionals benefit, including scientists, business CFOs, doctors, marketing experts, tax authorities — and the list goes on.
And don’t worry, we tax and accounting professionals aren’t left out of the fun! The information can be used in practical, everyday ways to save us time and leapfrog over the most time-consuming tasks in our job. In our profession these features are labeled “Bank Feeds” by most software vendors and have the ability to link the client’s financial institution to a specific client’s bank account in your software.
Now, let’s concentrate in on a topic you all too know well: the pain of collecting your clients’ source documents and the manual data entry involved with journalizing their business transactions. Client data comes from multiple sources, which makes it difficult to link, assign accounts, correct, and apply it to your professional accounting system. And the number of data sources is growing rapidly, in part because of the massive amount of cloud and mobile activity. This is where the age of Big Data presents the most exciting opportunities in data aggregation.
With its safe and secure connections, Accounting CS® Bank Feeds can provide instant access to your client’s financial accounts and eliminate data entry. All of which allows you and your staff to focus on more productive activities, rather than time-consuming manual data entry. Imagine not having to wait on clients to deliver source documents. Imagine instantaneous turn-around on write-up work that puts real-time reporting at your clients’ fingertips.
Finally, keep in mind that the importance of Big Data doesn’t begin and end with data entry. The most important part of Big Data is you — and what you do with it. You can take data from any source and analyze it to find answers that enable financial insights, better connections with clients, improved profit margins, and smarter decision making. And you can use your professional staff’s time to better advise business clients, instead of wasting their knowledge pecking away at a keyboard.
So which clients are the best fit for Accounting CS Bank Feeds? You’ll find that bank feeds offer tremendous value in the following situations:
- You frequently have difficulty getting information from your client in a timely manner — or you have trouble tracking down their information at all.
- You’ve found your client’s record keeping is a tad on the weak side — or they’re out-and-out technophobes. And although you’ve tried providing technology and tools in the past, they’ve never adapted.
- Your client is looking for real-time financial and business advice beyond basic historical financial reporting.
In all these cases, because you have an instant full picture of the client’s financial position you can put your focus on what matters most to clients.
In the demo linked below, the end results can be seen in the Enter Transaction screen, where all transactions were journalized. Our demo accountant benefits from many other timesaving features as he continues to use Bank Feeds going forward, such as memorized vendors and general ledger account assignment.
Take a little time to check it out, and you’ll see that the buzz — and potential — of Big Data is real. And just think: Accounting CS Bank Feeds is only one great example of how emerging tech is changing the tax and accounting profession. With Big Data, the opportunities and possibilities are endless!