It’s hard to make your accounting or finance career dreams come true when you spend half your day gathering, blending, interpreting, and learning to understand your data. And that’s especially true when your data exists in many formats—from spreadsheets to databases to emails.
(By “dreams,” we’re speaking figuratively—we’re not talking about your recurring nightmare where your calculator chases you around a maze until you find a power pellet, which allows you to turn around and eat the calculator. You should probably see someone about that, BTW.)
Thankfully, there’s a new class of analytics platforms with digital transformation as their endgame that do a lot of that work for you, putting more time back in your day to do high-value tasks that move your firm forward and get you noticed.
The solution is called analytic process automation (APA), and it marks the convergence of analytics, data science, and process automation.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some benefits of APA and show how they can ultimately have a positive impact on your career. Fair warning—when you finish this article, you’re really going to want to make sure your organization has APA. And, unfortunately, you can’t just pop into the digital app store of your choice and grab it for 99 cents (or free with ads).
So we strongly encourage you to share this article with your boss, or whomever makes software purchasing decisions at your firm. Tell them Going Concern sent you. It won’t help, but we’ll take any cheap plug we can get.
(If your bosses aren’t big readers, just send them the link to this video that quickly explains APA.)
And while the bigwigs are being wowed by all the oohs and ahhs of APA, it’s never too early to start evangelizing the benefits of automated analytics to your fellow analysts and co-workers. There’s power in numbers—but we don’t have to tell you that. If you need help, use an Alteryx starter kit to get the rest of your team on board.
Start the day off right with accounting and financial insights
Many accounting and finance professionals start their workday off with a hearty breakfast (and sometimes lunch, and sometimes dinner) of searching for, putting together, and attempting to understand data.
This is bad because, according to a stat we just made up, data is high in cholesterol and sodium, and is responsible for 48% of all paper cuts suffered in North America.
It’s also bad because, by the time you’ve got the insights you need to actually do the thing you were trying to do, you’ve received three more requests from various departments to perform additional tasks. And that means the next day is going to start the same way, with the ultimate result being either: a) you’ll miss every episode of Conan this week and still turn everything in late, or b) you’ll be calling your recruiter so often, you’ll need to put her on your family cellphone plan.
APA simplifies analytics and data science, using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced technologies to allow accountants and finance professionals to start their days with the insights they need. It also enables you to more easily use data to forecast the future, rather than just report historical trends.
With APA, you can quickly and easily retrieve actionable answers to the questions you now have to dig through data to find. And, often, the answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask will be there waiting for you when you need them, allowing you to jump straight into work that helps your firm increase revenue, reduce costs, and find opportunities for growth.
Alteryx—the pioneer of APA—offers an all-in-one platform that makes accessing these insights easy for everyone, democratizing analytics through simple interfaces that don’t require coding or developing algorithms.
Get faster, more accurate accounting and finance results through process automation
There is only one catch, and that is Catch-GC. (Short for “Going Concern.” And that’s cheap plug No. 2.)
Catch-GC is defined as follows:
- To be successful, accounting and finance professionals must complete their work quickly, which is sure to lead to errors.
- To be successful, accounting and finance professionals must complete their work without errors, which is sure to be slow.
- If the first two sound unfairly contradictory, that’s because they are.
Thankfully, the Alteryx APA platform optimizes and automates processes in ways that can finally solve Catch-GC, helping you perform tasks quickly AND with a low risk of errors. Alteryx APA creates a single, end-to-end flow of data between departments and teams, avoiding the stopgaps and errors associated with manual handoff. And it enables full transparency and traceability, so any errors that are made can be spotted and corrected long before they result in negative business impacts.
Many organizations are already realizing big gains in accounting and finance through the Alteryx APA platform:
- Siemens can now process 50 million rows of financial data in mere minutes.
- Chick-fil-A reduced time spent processing tax data for 1099-Ks from 10 hours to 10 seconds.
- Western Union can now derive essential customer insights from its financial data in hours instead of weeks.
Quickly and organically develop skills that today’s accounting and finance pros need
Here’s the worst kept secret in the business world: Employees hate (and, therefore, don’t get much out of) forced training.
Accounting and finance professionals are no exception. Sure, there may be the occasional program you get genuinely excited about. But, most of the time, your top priority is to get through the training as quickly as possible, so you can go back to doing your job. (“Actually learning something” is much further down the list, underneath “Remembering to DVR Judge Judy” and “Trying not to aggravate your carpal tunnel by clicking through the modules too quickly.”)
Using the Alteryx APA platform allows you to develop essential data and analytics skills naturally—no struggling to stay awake through training videos hosted by z-list actors required. If you are already familiar with using spreadsheets to do things like input data, this will be a breeze for you.
Experience is the best teacher (besides Mr. Feeny), and Alteryx makes gaining that experience fast and easy. As you click through its intuitive interfaces, you’ll start to understand analytics on a deeper level than mandatory training programs can provide.
Fueled by the thrill of solving problems quickly, you’ll discover tricks, shortcuts, and tips that you’ll want to share with co-workers. In turn, they’ll be sharing their own advice with you. Before long, pervasive learning will organically spread throughout your team and across your organization. You’ll depend less on IT and data specialists, and—often without realizing it—upskill yourself to find and use the insights you need to be more productive and effective at your job.
One of the Big 4 firms (we can’t tell you which one, but we’re betting there’s a 25% chance you can guess it) successfully upskilled 50,000 people using Alteryx APA—across accounting, finance, tax, audit, HR, and client service delivery.
Spread the word and get Alteryx APA at your firm
We warned you. You’ve made it to the end of the article, and now all you can think is, “How do I get me some of that sweet, sweet Alteryx APA?!” And with the ability to start your day with essential insights, automate processes so you can work faster and with fewer errors, and easily learn skills that can advance your career, no one can blame you.
You can get the ball rolling by sharing this article with your bosses, or by sending them a link to this video and/or this white paper that explains Alteryx APA in more depth. And for those raring to get their hands on automated analytics with the skills they already have, you can hook them up with a starter kit.
Be sure to tell them that Alteryx APA delivers big ROI across top-line growth, bottom-line returns, efficiency gains, and perpetual upskilling of their workforce. And that thousands of companies globally use Alteryx APA to drive human-centered digital transformation.
If all else fails, just be frank. Let your bosses know that Alteryx APA is the ultimate solution for getting your head out of the data and enabling you to perform your job more effectively. (And you know it’s true because you read it on Going Concern. Cheap plug No. 3 achieved!)