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Big Data Skills Are Crucial in Future Finance Hires

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Oct 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights

When you are putting together a team of finance professionals, what skills do you prioritize regarding your staff? Sales, accounting, business, basic IT and interpersonal skills often make the list. However, in today’s competitive business market, one of the most important skill sets a finance officer or employee can have is the ability to work with big data. Consider five reasons having knowledge of big data should be part of your hiring criteria. 

Identify and Act on Key Trends

Big data skills allow an employee to observe trends and find patterns in data well before a traditional financial department staff member would notice these concerns.With the ability to find these trends, an employee can better serve you in all areas of business, especially in your financial dealings. Making strategic decisions is much easier when you have an idea in which direction the trends are leaning.

Data Mining (and Extraction)

To take advantage of the opportunities that big data offers, first you must be able to separate the useful data from all the rest that has been collected. The name “big data” suddenly makes sense when the mining and extraction steps begin. When you hire experts who are experienced pulling useful data from large bases, it becomes possible to accomplish more than you ever thought possible using a resource that many of your competitors are ignoring.

Operational Analysis

OA (Operational Analysis) involves putting together machine data and business data to improve insight into how the business is operating. With this data available to you and ideally presented in an easy-to-manage format, it is much easier for the creative team to develop rock-solid solutions regarding business results and the ways you can improve them. While the named concept may be new to many finance departments, the idea of OA has actually been a big part of business for decades. However, the data available to power it has improved to the point that it has become a specialty.

Decision Analysis

In the world of finance, you must make decisions every single day. Some of these decisions can impact the potential long-range growth of your company. Big data skills influence this ability is a huge way, today more than ever. Those who have the data skills may be able to mine the data and use it to create a decision tree, influence diagram or other graphical representation of alternative. With information in hand, making smart decisions the company’s good becomes much easier.

Statistical Modeling

While big data skills are important up and down a company’s payroll today, it isn’t possible for every employee to be able to look at a pile of data and make sense of it. Statistical modeling closes that gap. When you work with professionals who can take complex stats and turn them into easy-to-understand models such as graphs and charts, you are able to bring together all departments and all members of management too. Suddenly, it become much easier for the finance team to express goals and pain points to the marketing experts or to the CEO who has to green light every major decision that is made.

While it may seem redundant to have “data experts” on staff and expect your finance team to have these skills, it is actually becoming more and more important. Some of the roles you may want to hire for that will need these skills, including your accounting director, financial audit manager, financial planning employees and your CFO. When you put together a team, while keeping big data skills a priority, you will almost immediately see improvements in the overall operations of your firm. Hiring can sometimes be a challenge. If you have any questions or concerns about building or improving your finance team, reach out to us at ICS today. We can help!

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