CGMA Survey: One Third of Global Finance Pros See Revenue Hits Because of Poor Data Analysis

Rise of big data creates opportunity for management accountants, new report from AICPA, CIMA finds

New York and London – A third of finance professionals around the world have seen their organisations suffer significant revenue hits because of incorrect data analysis, according to results of a survey by the American Institute of CPAs and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

The AICPA and CIMA surveyed 2,000 CFOs, controllers, finance directors and others with the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation for perspective on the challenges and opportunities big data present. Almost 9 in 10, or 86 percent, said their businesses are struggling to turn volumes of data into valuable insight, underscoring the potential pitfalls as companies contend with growing streams of information from their operations, social media and other sources.  

Those surveyed said their organisations face particular challenges bringing data together from different databases, pulling insight from non-financial information and identifying meaningful trends. Still, 87 percent think big data and better analytics will change the way business is done over the next 10 years. They expect new opportunities to increase efficiency and cut costs, better performance metrics and better monitoring of external risks, according to the survey.

“Businesses know that data can be transformative, but right now many are information rich and insight poor,” said Arleen Thomas, CPA, CGMA, and AICPA senior vice president for management accounting and global markets. “The finance team has a critical role in bridging the gap. Management accountants increasingly will have to partner with data scientists and others in their organisations to translate bits and bytes into business intelligence that can be used to accurately move the business forward.”

“Big data is increasingly becoming a core business asset,” added Peter Simons, technical specialist at CIMA. “According to the survey, 93 percent of respondents agreed that finance has an essential role to play in helping organisations benefit from data-related projects. Finance professionals, especially CGMAs, are well placed to do this by helping organisations translate analytical insights into commercial insights to create value.”

The survey findings are included in a new CGMA report from the AICPA and CIMA, “From Insight to Impact: Unlocking Opportunities in Big Data,” to help management accountants navigate the evolving world of data. It includes a number of perspectives and anecdotes from finance professionals at companies such as Yahoo, Google and Shell on making the most of an organisation’s data assets.

For more information about the report or survey, please contact:

Jonathan B. Cox
AICPA media relations
T: 919.402.4499

Claire Grewer
Profile and Communications CIMA
T. 020 8849 2300