There was a time, not too long ago, when Finance and Accounting had complete control over most of the decision making data in any business. I caught the tail end of that generation.
At my first job as Financial Analyst for a licensing division of the Walt Disney Company, the finance department had control over all data, including the G/L, contract systems, customer and vendor database, budget and forecast files, and even the IT function. We owned the keys to the kingdom.
Skip ahead 15 years and now Accounting is being cast aside as the provider of “historical” information by the “forward-looking” Revenue Management departments.
Across the hotel industry, companies are looking for qualified data analysts to fill the data-driven “intelligence” void that Accountants can’t fill. Why is this happening?
According to a 2016 report by Deloitte, despite being a quantitative function, the accounting world, including tax, has been slow in requiring analytics skills from its professionals. By having the profession focus on compliance and reporting, a massive gap in analytical capabilities has developed.
Finance professionals are not far behind. A January 2016 report by the Institute of Management Accountants, revealed that most CFO’s believe that less than 50% of their team possesses SOME of the required skills in business analytics.
There is no question that, in the analytics age, accountants face the very real risk of being relegated to summarizing the clerical and mundane “hindsight” information while the analytics guys will handle the much sexier “insight” and “foresight” projects.
That is unfortunate because accountants are uniquely positioned to be the best data analysts.
You see, many companies are failing to deliver value from analytics because they have techie people, with no business background, trying to find profit in their raw data.