I have been pretty quiet here of late, however I have a very good reason for it. I may have ever so slightly neglected the blog however it has been totally worth it! I have been consulting on a fascinating project on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the corporate world particularly for accountants. I’m unashamedly a nerd and love data, statistics and tech. One of the big learning’s I take with me from this project is just how important data is. And not just data, good data. We have all heard of GDPR and see its impact pretty much day to day when we do anything. Protecting ones data is important particularly in an increasingly data centric world.
Data Quality Management
Looking at how advanced the technology is becoming, data quality management has to be a key concern for management. But what exactly is good quality data? You need to be managing the right data to make the right decisions. Informatica defines data quality as “the overall utility of a dataset(s) as a function of its ability to be easily processed and analyzed for other uses, usually by a database, data warehouse, or data analytics system“. That is quite the tongue twister, paring it back good quality data simply means, data which is accurate, complete, consistent, and time stamped. Getting the data quality management right is a critical element in future proofing your business.
Interestingly data quality is not to be confused with data accuracy. Accuracy is exactly as it says that the data is accurate whereas data quality is combination of five different factor including accuracy. The other four are: complete, consistent, time stamped and industry standards based.
So considering the next steps – what is artificial intelligence? Wikipedia has a very comprehensive definition of AI but at its most basic, it is intelligence demonstrated by machines as opposed to the natural person/ human. It can be quite hard to get your head around the concept of AI. My recent role was looking at how AI could assist accountants as opposed to replace accountants. Which is what most people’s biggest fear is i.e. being replaced by a robot leading to mass unemployment. It’s not about that at all its about improving performance.
So how can does AI link with accountants. I think the main message I want to convey here is that it can support, enhance and improve performance. Augment is the word used by Firm of the Future and I think it is a really apt descriptor of it. Having a practical look myself at it, I can see AI used really effectively for example for queries – particularly voice recognition. Think about it for a second. You are popping to a meeting you forgot to check how many of this years sales were from x Limited? Simple – just ask and the figure is repeated back to you.
However, this really only severs to reinforce that good data management is critical – I think the old adage says – “garbage in – garbage out” data really is king so how true could this be.
Note: This is a collaborative post