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MBA Careers: Cloud Computing, Big Data At Heart Of Accountancy Transformation

Future CFOs will need technology training

Mon Oct 12 2015

BusinessBecause
The technologies behind cloud computing and data analytics are set to alter the future of the accountancy landscape and with it the careers of future CFOs.

As the big accounting firms — among them PwC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte — face growing challenges from disruptive tech companies like Google and SAP, their employees must master new digital tools.

Nick Frost, partner at KPMG in the UK, says: “To deal with this real threat we must become the best at accountancy-based or financial process data analytics.”

The biggest growth in demand is for budding auditors who can trawl through vast quantities of big data using advanced analytics. “Big data is starting to take hold on the industry, with the Big Four leading the way,” says Alex Stremme, assistant dean at Warwick Business School.

Richard Anning, head of IT faculty at accountancy body ICAEW, says that it is now possible to test 100% of transactions rather than a sample — “which enables greater emphasis on exceptions, outliers and profiling the riskiest transactions”.

Despite concerns over data security, cloud computing too is a focus area for accountants, as more audit clients seek to prepare their accounts, administer payrolls, and file tax returns online.

Faye Chue, head of business insights at ACCA, another leading accountancy body, says that cloud, mobile and social media technologies will change the way accountants work.

“Their role will no longer be primarily reactive and backward-looking but proactive, continuous, forward-looking and engaged,” she says.

These new high-tech tools are spurring a shift in the training and education of accountancy professionals. At NYU Stern School of Business for example, the accounting department is developing new courses in statistical and data analysis, says Alex Dontoh, professor of accounting and deputy chair of the department.

He says there is a “need for students to develop technical skills in data analytics and information technology, in order to stay relevant in the professional accounting marketplace”.

The tech trend is part of a bigger shift in the package of skills accountants need. There is an ever-greater focus on core management and leadership skills.

Accountants will need to manage broader business problems, says Dr Edgar Loew, professor of management practice in accounting at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. “They are not pure accountants checking figures without thinking beyond them — they need to be able to analyse the situation of the entire company.”

Accountants with these traits are hot in demand among employers. Naeema Pasha, head of careers for Henley Business School, says: “We have seen an increase in activity in recruitment from accountancy firms.” 

Student Reviews

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Student

Verified

11/11/2019

Modern and global

Frankfurt School provided me with one of the best experiences of my life. I was an Erasmus student for a semester and could learn a lot. I took some mainstream courses like marketing and supply chain management, but also some innovative courses like applied persuasion and event planning. The professors are not only germans but from different parts of the world, mostly with international experience. The student life is great, the FS Bulls are a great community that is definitely worth being a part of. The best part is the campus, newly built with ultra modern architecture located in on the of the best neighbourhoods in Frankfurt am Main. You can find accomodation right next to it, many student residences at a fair price.

Student

Verified

30/09/2019

Career Oriented

I am a first year at the Frankfurt School and have been a prt of it for only a month; however, I can say for sure that the university provides its students with all the opportunities to grow professionally and personally. The majority of the professors are or have been successful professionals who easily relate the course material with real life and make lectures enjoyable. The extra curricular activities provided by the university are also a great step to life after graduation and give a head start for the students career.

Student

Verified

27/09/2019

University giving its students education of high quality and career prospects.

This university has helped me gain knowledge and experiences, that I lacked in my home country. Being in a great international surrounding, I have the opportunity to prosper and learn every day. The study program is very engaging, and the lecturers help you grow.

Student

Verified

17/11/2019

FSFM

I’m a bachelor student at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and my overall experience was better than I expected. The classes have a small number of students, which makes the relationship with the professor better because they become easier to approach. During my years of study, I had both practical and theoretical classes, like innovation management, big data & analytics, econometrics. But the theories and concepts are directly applied to real-life problems due to many professors working in banks or consultancies, which is really good. FS supports students in finding internships and semesters abroad, but when it comes to housing not so much because it’s not that easy in Frankfurt. FS offers dorms, but it is only to a limited amount of students and the facilities aren’t the best. In terms of student organizations, there are a lot of different sport clubs for almost every kind of sport, also student consulting, student investment club, student politics club, music, arts, etc. Living in Frankfurt is good, it is very multicultural in Germany, with lots of cultural actives, museums, parks, etc. The nightlife is also nice with proper nightclubs compared to the size of the city, Gibson, Velvet, Adlib to name a few, and there also is a bar district in Alt-Sachsenhausend and a lot of bars where bankers go in the city center. The campus is not really comparable to an actual campus like the American universities, but it’s a big modern building that was built 2 years ago. I would definitely recommend it to a friend if you're willing to pay that much for uni, because there are still a lot of public unis in Germany that are comparably good (Mannheim, Goethe, LMU Munich...).

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