Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

What You Learn on the ... Business Analytics and Risk Management for Finance Professionals Mastercourses

Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

What You Learn on the ... Business Analytics and Risk Management for Finance Professionals Mastercourses

Article excerpt

The two courses I am conducting for BPP are part of the continuing professional development (CPD) programme that is integral to the success of management accountants. While management accountants are able to receive a strong technical grounding, it is the broader skill set of CPD that gives them the confidence to contribute to the success and financial position of major organisations.

Business analytics is a day-long course that looks at how finance professionals can contribute to a company's bottom line by exploiting the vast data sources that are available today. A key area looked at is the management of big data, and how organisations can exploit all parts of this trove of information--after all, if it is used properly this information is a potential gold mine.

Management accountants are best able to exploit this asset because they are equipped with the skills, competencies, tools and techniques for extracting as much insightful information as possible from data. As such, they are not just able to present the outcome, as seen in financial reports, but have a sense of what the numbers mean in the wider context, which for a company could be areas such as the environment, economic conditions or the competitive landscape. Thus, the data needs to be looked at in multiple contexts.

If this is done successfully management accountants can then take the next step and look at how the data can be used to predict what will happen next. That becomes gold in the hands of a competent management accountant who has the background and understanding, and now the tools and techniques, to develop predictive analytics.

The challenge arises for LIMA to change the mind-set and soft skills of members so that they are able to recognise the value and communicate to management teams how this material can be best used in an organisation. Although management accountants may have strong technical skills, they will still need to develop the means to convey how an organisation can be transformed and how they can play a key role in transforming it. I'm writing a book on the subject called Business Analytics for Finance Professionals: The Opportunity for Finance Transformation, which explores how these aims can be achieved.

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Finance professionals have the prerogative and remit to collect and analyse, and ultimately exploit, all kinds of organisational data, but often there are hurdles to this happening. The finance department is too often heavily committed to the ledger, financial reports or balance sheets to take part in transformational work. So a consequence is that the management accountant is not able to be an effective partner to management in developing outcomes the organisation is seeking. …

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