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What does data mean to you?

5 months ago

What is it about data that keeps you awake at night or excites you to get out of bed in the morning? 

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  • Admin Commented mmassoud 5 months ago
    I think CPAs are lucky to be living in the information age. Common skills possessed by many CPAs such as being able to collect, report and analyze information will be key skills for employers looking to leverage the vast amount of information they own.
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    • David Chiang 5 months ago
      Who says they own their information. Was informed consent provided to transfer ownership of someone else’s data to the employer? My concern is how consents are provided. Data can provide useful information. But let’s ensure sufficient privacy protocols are in place and that permissions are obtained in transparent ways.
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      • Admin Commented mmassoud 5 months ago
        Great point David, privacy of data is ever so important now. Can I ask the group if are key contributors in making sure their organizations follow appropriate data privacy legislations?
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  • joshbazin 5 months ago
    We have the opportunity to interpret and make decisions from a vast amount of information we previously didn't have the capacity to analyze previously.
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    • Admin Commented mmassoud 5 months ago
      Great point, I fully agree with you.
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    • cmaclean1 5 months ago
      Absolutely, We can collect much more data than in the past and it can become completely overwhelming. Our ability to parse the data and determine what is useful and what is not to make a difference to the organization.
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      • Admin Commented mmassoud 5 months ago
        I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy.

        Good point - there is an extensive amount of data out there in the world now. Trying to figure out what is useful or not will be key for CPAs going forward. Or perhaps even trying to determine the quality of data, and whether the data gives an accurate picture of the facts.
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    • Sfigner 5 months ago
      And building on your comment, there are so many more sources of data to work with. Agree with the other comments: it can be overwhelming; context is important; quality data is critical. As a profession, all three of these challenges present an opportunity for us to shine, show leadership and add value. Even with the growing application of AI, we can have a role to play in ensuring that we get the insights stakeholders need.
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    • acavaliertdy about 2 months ago
      We're getting there but, at the moment, we seem to
      be concerning ourselves with 'the flavour of the month'.
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  • irene wiecek 5 months ago
    What keeps me awake is that we now convert increasing amounts of natural and personal phenomena such as our pulse, sleep patterns and dna into machine readable (and therefore shareable) data, through wearable devices and other means including commercially available dna testing kits. It's all fine as long as the data is used for intended purposes and privacy is maintained. But what if it isn't?
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    • Admin Commented mmassoud 5 months ago
      Great point Irene. Interesting example on the wearable devices, especially since I know I share so much of my personal info through my Fitbit. Do you think there is a place for accountants to make sure this data is used for its intended purpose?
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  • Obed_Maurice 5 months ago
    I'm excited about the impact we can make by leveraging the data. New client experiences and services are at the top of my list. I'm concerned about our professions ability to manage this data safely.

    What keeps me wake when it comes to data? Ensure our practice is positioned to commercialize this "data opportunity" while we help our clients do the same.
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  • Shawcross 5 months ago
    Me...data that is assumed To be correct due to AI efficiency assumptions....you still need to revise, confirm, and apply ....how do you ensure that is happening?
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  • mjprivyk 5 months ago
    Data is an input. It means little without context, parameters to facilitate its interpretation (comparability, consistency, timeliness, reliability, materiality). The real value add is in the analysis. However, the better the data, the better the insights.
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    • Admin Commented mmassoud 5 months ago
      That's a great point. What kind of detailed activities could CPAs do to better facilitate the interpretation of data? And how can CPAs highlight their expertise in this area?
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  • gdawe 5 months ago
    Data is the information available that helps you to make a decison.
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    • JennyJ 5 months ago
      But what if the data isn't scrubbed or interpreted correctly? How do we prevent people from interpreting the data so that it doesn't always work in their favour?
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      • gdawe 5 months ago
        Great point. CPAs can play a role to ensure the data coming in is verifiable and that data used to make decisions is verified so it can be interpreted correctly.
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    • JeanLetounreau 24 days ago
      Data is not logic! Lots of data about the past lead to infobesity. We have lots of information but nothing that really truly helps to create future value.
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      • Admin Commented mmassoud 17 days ago
        I like the term "infobesity", I've never heard that one before, but I think I'll be using it going forward - thanks. You're right that we have an immense amount of data (big data) and information that one can get from so many sources. Being able to master and look for opportunities through big data sets is an area that many organizations are focusing on. Are any of you using big data sets to make more informed decisions at your organizations?
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  • gdawe 5 months ago
    The accuracy of data that is being used to make decisions and use of my data without my agreement keeps me awake. There are so few standards around effective or ethical use of data. I'm excited about the opportunities available with the effective and efficient use of data. With correct oversight and use of data we can make more informed and thoughtful decisions.
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    • David Chiang 5 months ago
      Yes, data privacy concerns me too. There should be stringent laws to protect the gathering and use of certain data. The knowledge possibilities that data can provide are impressive. But yet, having consent to use that data is paramount.
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      • acavaliertdy about 2 months ago
        While I agree that we need to find ways to make important data available in order to make informed business decisions. Unfortunately, I find that when bad and/or incomplete data sets are being used and the results can be 'less than ideal'. I wish people would spend more time 'cleaning' the data of 'noise' and investigating the outliers before dismissing them.
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  • lparkins 5 months ago
    Data accuracy that is relevant and that provide meaningful and actionable insights into business activities and results. My research on the topic "Building High Performance Finance Teams", in talking to CFO's... CFO's expect CPA to perform an increasing Business Partnership role.

    Data is a competitive business asset. Converting data info useful information will be the real VALUE of CPA's of the future. CPA roles falls into 4 professional buckets. I call what we do as "INFO SIGHTS".
    1. Hindsight
    2. Oversight
    3. Insight
    4. Foresight.
    All of us CPA's do work and provide value in all these 4 buckets.

    I would like to join your F2F group discussion forums, if possible.
    Lennox Parkins, MBA,PMP,CPA,CMA.
    lennox_parkins@atlantic.ca
    Toronto.
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    • mjprivyk 5 months ago
      Love the four "sights" - very true... I would add hindsight is a necessary exercise to guide insight and foresight.
      I believe we will all - CPAs and others - need to learn that the past is not always a good predictor of the future... which begs the question, what other kinds of data, or other ways to use the data, can we develop to optimize insight and foresight?
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    • Admin Commented mmassoud 5 months ago
      Thank you for expressing interest in helping the profession progress on this workstream. I have reached out to the appropriate individuals responsible for leading our data governance workstream and they will contact you directly.
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  • MGGuy 5 months ago
    I do not think data is any more useful than it was in the past. I mostly try to do the same things with data today as I did 15 years ago, with the exception that web analytics have gotten better. The main difference today is that every day is a battle against virus's and hackers trying to destroy our data. That never used to happen, but it's a daily occurrence now. You need an IT manager willing to do battle at all hours the day these days.
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  • cmaclean1 5 months ago
    I love being able to look at the data and perform analytics to see what the data is telling me. I want to know what it means and how it can help us to be better in what we do on a day to day basis. I think that CPA's have a responsibility to help people with in the organization understand the raw data and how it affects them.
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  • Monkeyfunky 5 months ago
    The potential loss of data due to theft or technological glitches keep me up at night, especially the latter since a lot of businesses send information through API or EDI.

    What excites me each day is the possibilities of AI with data. Very broad and general comment but I think about it this way: imagine if every business had a seamlessly automated workflow process from every customer and supplier touch point through to accounting and data collection. Now, imagine this same computer could query, analyze and report on key KPIs for Executive decision making within seconds. Well, that’s what AI promises and that’s what excites me about haha future of data.
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    • David Chiang about 2 months ago
      Loss of data through unauthorized use or hackers definitely a concern. Everyone thinks their systems are secure - until their not. The keepers of data need to be more vigilant when dealing with assets. Definitely agree with MonkeyFunky - partly because it’s a cool name?
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    • Admin Commented mmassoud about 1 month ago
      Monkeyfunky, that’s a great name. I think the enhanced automated workflow process to help organization optimize their operations is a good vision. Does anyone know of specific organizations that are currently implementing or using an enhanced automated workflow process like this?
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  • MJD 4 months ago
    Human beings add value to data. Remember the old "garbage in, garbage out" saying that applied when we first started using computers? It still applies. Human beings need to be involved in determining how data is collected and if the data being collected is objective. Then, the meaning of the data needs to be determined, the trends identified, the kernels of truth found, any biases countered. Accountants can add this value. We already have conceptual frameworks that guide the quality of information provided in financial statements. These qualities apply to data more broadly too. Accountants also understand privacy, independence and ethics. So, we can being that to the data governance table too.
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    • Admin Commented mmassoud 4 months ago
      Great point, I really like the saying "garbage in, garbage out". You're right, accountants can really add value by making sure quality data goes in and quality data comes out.
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      • MAPaquette 3 months ago
        I agree with the above: CPA already are involved in assessing the quality of the data that goes in and out. However, if the systems/processes are not well understood by us, I fear we won't be able to assess such quality. Would this necessitate deeper IT knowledge, including coding?
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  • MAPaquette 3 months ago
    When I look at the GDPR in Europe, CCPA in California or the upcoming SHIELD act in New York, I expect the existing expertise of the CPA will be in high demand. Wether with ethical data collecting, secure data keeping or effective use of data (including data valuation), I think that some professionnal will strive, should they embrace technology and update their business model.
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    • Admin Commented mmassoud 3 months ago
      You are right - a lot of the skills of a CPA will be transferable when it comes to implementing and monitoring many of the upcoming privacy regulations.
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  • David Chiang about 2 months ago
    Data is truth. Truth is power. Power is absolute. Absolute power corrupts. Perhaps not the ending I would like. But one that we must ensure we prevent as we navigate these issues.
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  • cgarchinski about 1 month ago
    Data is so powerful and is key to keep a business growing and sustainable. Data is being used more in AI applications to help analyze the data and create trends, to help with regulatory reporting and auditing functions. It is very exciting to think that with the use of AI and data, we can be given more relevant information to make more informed decisions. What is "scary" is that in some organizations, the data being used is very sensitive and cyberthreats is always a concern. Ensuring we are keeping our members information safe is what keeps me up at night and the thought of how we can use this information to grow our business is what excites me.
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    • Admin Commented mmassoud about 1 month ago
      I agree, there are both opportunities and risks that exist due to the amount of data companies, governments and organizations are collecting. I think CPAs could play pivotal role in helping organizations cease those opportunities and mitigate risks. What are other peoples thoughts? Does anyone have any interesting thoughts and ideas on how CPAs could help organizations safeguard information? What can the profession do to help members become leaders in this space?
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  • Afshan about 1 month ago
    Data has the potential to make or break. Having the strong data governance protocols is the only way to exploit the possibilities offered by data.
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  • Piyush 6 days ago
    Data needs to be from a recognized source, appropriately vetted and procured in a transparent manner. This is possible through the blockchain technology.

    Let’s take a very, very, simple and idealistic view in an example of a factory. It needs to procure materials and people to produce things to be sold to customers. Whatever it purchases is transacted through block chain technology. Payments to suppliers are made through block chain. People working in the factory are paid through block chain. What is produced in the factory is documented as tangible items in block chain and sold to the customers through block chain again. This is achieving front and backward integration of the data origination for an entity. Thus transactions involving finance, inventory and people are being managed through blockchain technology.

    Accountability starts from the top. Every country should have a register of assets available both regenerative, productive and non-regenerative and non-productive. Any new exploits by either the state or the private participants should be documented, licensed and accounted for in the asset register. If the world shares all these resources it will make the resulting accounting of all the transactions much, much, easier and accountable and mitigate innumerable trust issues.

    Any transaction (original or reselling) that is entered into is fed in the super-computer with the state(government) and in the database of the parties concerned. Any access to the state computer is protected and accessible only to the regulating agencies and specific persons named in the dictat. The transaction entered into by the concerned parties is aggregated thereby reconciling the inventory or services provided and also the financial aspects. This will result in year end financials and reconciliation of inventory and thus making the process very transparent.

    The goal of getting information in real time should be paramount in such endeavor. Real time information that feeds itself to the government and authorities and to the public alike will help achieve equality much faster.
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