We’re excited to offer a new service line to our clients who are seeking to utilize big data to solve their most important business questions while at the same time significantly increasing their operating effectiveness and engagement realization – all with a click of a button!
Since the dawn of the digital age, CPA firms and their attest clients have been bombarded with information coming from websites, emails, social media, news articles, etc., that are constantly being updated every second. In addition, almost every business today has their financial accounting and reporting records automated. All transactions are virtually captured and saved electronically, resulting in an unprecedented amount of information being digitally recorded annually. This is the world of big data!
Question: How do we wrap our hands around all this madness? The answer: through data analytics / data mining.
Small to mid-sized CPA firms are starting to use the concepts of data analytics / data mining when performing:
- Audit and review engagements
- Fraud investigations and forensics
- Consulting engagements
- Big data projects
- Making informed business decisions
The concept of big data thrives on the principle that everything we do leaves a data trail. Data comes in both a structured format (e.g. Excel table) and an unstructured format (e.g. pictures, videos, weather data, etc.). Data is generated by everything around us at all times, including the systems, sensors and mobile devices that transmit it. Every digital process and social media exchange creates it. To extract meaningful value out of big data, you will need strong analytic abilities and be skillful in coding, which is both an art and a science. From this environment emerge subject matter experts called data scientists.
Our data scientist will coordinate with your engagement teams to develop custom data solutions in Excel, a powerful yet underrated technology, to achieve the goal of 100% coverage in substantive testing. In contrast to the substantial training time and financial commitments required by specialized software computer aided audit tools (CAATs), which still have limitations on applications, Excel can be customized to meet each engagement team’s specific needs and goals. Here is a list of some of the common attest procedures that can be automated:
- Non-standard journal entry testing
- Accounts receivable testing
- Accounts payable testing
- Payroll testing
- Traveling and entertainment expense reimbursement testing
- Fixed asset testing
- Check register and cash disbursement testing
- Revenue recognition testing
- Risk score assignment and multi-dimensional analysis to transactions
- Data joins, appends and aggregations
- Data visualization
- Work with large data sets
To learn more about how our data analytics and data mining services can provide the expertise and professionalism your firm needs, contact us today or call (732) 972-1098.