Big Data vs. the Right Data
Most accounting and tax departments need just a small portion of the massive sea of corporate big data. How do they narrow it down?
The term ‘big data’ is one of the technology trends du jour. It refers to the massive explosion of available data, to which the mantra ‘the more the better’ applies. However, despite its recent popularity, the intelligence community has actually been leveraging big data for quite some time. As an example, credit bureaus have long mined terabytes of data to monitor fraudulent activity. For decades retail companies have used business intelligence to market and sell their products. What has changed, however, is the advent of technology, which has made big data a reality for companies of all sizes, across a wide breadth of industries and job functions. Big data is now available to the masses.
So what can big data do for the accounting and finance function? It can help companies make more informed, faster decisions that ultimately produce greater quality and increased productivity. When big data is applied to specific functions, such as state and federal income taxes, sales tax, fixed assets management, or provisioning, big data becomes the pool from which relevant data is chosen. The right data, not just big data, allows companies to be more efficient and targeted, and able to attain significant cash savings.
Most accounting and tax departments only need a small portion of what’s available in the massive sea of corporate big data. Too much data can be crippling and impossible to analyze. As a result, finding the RIGHT data is the first critical step for tax and accounting professionals responsible for big data initiatives.
Spreadsheets are not Databases
Most spreadsheets such as Excel can only scale to one million rows. That may seem like a lot, but in the context of big data, where a company can capture over a billion records a day, spreadsheets are clearly not designed to be used as databases. Beyond scalability issues, spreadsheets are inherently error-prone due to their manual nature. Yet, over 80 percent (and this is a conservative number) of finance and accounting executives continue to rely on spreadsheets for both analysis and as a database source. It is a tale of accessibility. Spreadsheets were readily available, and historical database technology was simply too difficult to access. But as technology has evolved, so has the accessibility of data. Quality data is now readily available to tax and accounting executives. As a result, progressive finance teams are ditching spreadsheet-based databases and looking for reliable, scalable solutions that allow them to take advantage of the big data phenomena.
Accountants rely on accurate book and tax depreciation calculations, and tools are now available that enable tax executives to tap into back-end systems, rather than relying on spreadsheets as databases of record. Bloomberg Tax Fixed Assets Web, from Bloomberg Tax Technology offers a comprehensive fixed assets accounting solution to manage the complete fixed assets lifecycle. Fixed Assets G/L Integrator, an add-on module, aids in the seamless exchange of data between Fixed Assets Web, and accounts payable information from a company’s ERP and/or accounting systems. Whether using SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards, or a combination of systems, the result is accurate data for fixed assets purposes, which can be updated in the system of record.
This is just one example of how tax and accounting executives can take advantage of big data to make sound business decisions that result in real savings. Whether dealing with state and federal income taxes, sales tax, fixed assets, or provisioning – finding the RIGHT data, not just BIG data, is the critical component. With the right tools that procure the right data, progressive companies can reap the many benefits of big data.
Fixed Assets Web can help finance and accounting professionals use big data to their advantage – securing just the right data, to ensure accuracy and control over the entire fixed assets management process. To learn more about how an integrated tax depreciation system can automate movement of data between a company’s ERP system, tax depreciation system, and their tax compliance solution, access the white paper, Empowering the Tax Department with ERP and Tax Depreciation Integration below.Download White Paper