Big Data in Big China

Accountants need to consider their skillset in order to remain effective and relevant in a world of big data and changing technology. We can be the guardians of data, but we’re facing tough competition from marketing, operations and data science specialists, who may be far more advanced in their use of big data.

We recently launched our latest thought leadership report, on Big data in Chinese businesses. This was produced in collaboration with our partners, the Shanghai National Accounting Institute (SNAI) and the technology company Inspur. It draws on detailed interviews with Chinese businesses, to highlight some important lessons around data, innovation in China and the changing skills of accountants.

Data and Innovation

The report outlines a number of lessons around the use of big data in businesses, and the impact on finance functions. Data is one of the four transformational technologies for accountancy, along with AI, blockchain and cyber. The explosion of data across organisations presents great opportunities to base more decisions around hard evidence, and to improve prediction, internal controls and other aspects of accountancy. Therefore, getting first-hand experience of data innovation is invaluable to thinking about the future of our profession.

Learning from China

The report also highlights how much we can learn from China, particularly in the technology space. China is well-placed to generate and exploit data, given the sheer size of its population and its tremendous pace of adoption of mobile platforms and payments. In addition, the Chinese government maintains a comprehensive plan to promote the use of big data to support economic growth.

The East coast of China is leading the world in its innovative uses of data, and our research included interviews with tech innovators such as Tencent, as well as some of the big state-owned enterprises that possess enormous amounts of data. So, where better to learn about the potential power of big data and how businesses can encourage innovation?

Accounting for Skills

Like ICAEW, SNAI is an educator; they train the finance leaders of many state-owned enterprises. Assessing and understanding the changing skill requirements for our students and members is crucial for our institutes, but also for the economies that we serve. The report highlights this need, and we hope will encourage our members and businesses to consider it.

For the full report and other related resources, please visit our big data hub page.

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