How A Financial Data Analyst Connects The Dots

Posted: Aug 28  |  By: Parker + Lynch

Big Data Needs A Financial Data Analyst To Effectively Work

Big data tools require a deep understanding of the computational power available on the tech side and the information that will provide business insight on the finance side. No matter how much money and hardware an enterprise devotes to the effort, it still needs to start with the right questions to garner the right answers.

However, there’s a considerable gap between the
 IT department and the accounting and finance department. According to Jeramy Kaiman, managing director with Parker + Lynch, “There’s generally a disconnect between the language of the technology department and the language accounting and finance departments speak.”

Companies have solved the need for computational power by acquiring new technology; now, they must harness that data by retaining financial expertise. However, the more complex the data set, the greater the need for a financial data analyst to interpret it.

This calls for a new breed of professional to bridge the knowledge and language gaps between technology and finance.

“Most companies have someone who owns the back end [of data technology] and other people who generate reports,” Kaiman said. “We’re looking for someone to be an interpreter between the tax and IT departments. Companies need a financial data analyst who can speak the language of finance and IT. These two departments cannot succeed without the other.”

Aligning With The Right Experts.

Professionals who come on-site to work with big data must have an understanding of the business goals of the company and its financial rules as well as a technological grasp of the potential and pitfalls of a vastly expanded, real-time stream of data that may or may not be relevant to achieving these goals.

“Very few accountants understand how information flows in the system,” Kaiman said. “They want and need the information, but they don’t know where 
it comes from.” A financial data analyst that is versed in both worlds “can explain where the data comes from and what it means.”

The Big Skills You Need To Leverage Big Data.

Financial consultants with a command of technology can orient the strategic direction that computation must take. These specialists may have come up through the ranks of technology or finance, but many have branched out to gain a thorough command of the strategic opportunities data presents.

“It may be someone who came up through finance, gravitated through systems, and got cozier and cozier with IT over time,” Kaiman said. “Financial-systems people can help finance departments understand where data systems come from and how it’s entered.”

Some essential skills that you should look for include:

  • Strategic thinking
Ability to work with both the CFO and the CIO
  • Understanding of data structure
Proven accounting and finance qualifications

It Takes Big Talent To Optimize Big Data.

Data alone isn’t enough to ensure enterprise success. Human intelligence is essential, and tech-savvy financial professionals are uniquely qualified to harness the power and realize the potential of big data.

The size and nature of data queries have changed. While older technologies could compare information archived in similar formats, big data can synthesize answers from historical and real-time information regardless of formats.

Most enterprises have a tech department
that installs the data architecture and a finance department that examines the output in search of trends. Big data requires specialists who
can make sense of the data throughout its lifecycle and serve as a bridge between the
two departments.

No computer is powerful enough to provide the heuristic insight of a human operator,
nor does it possess the social skills to ensure communication between departments. Only a person with strategic vision and technical savvy can fill the gap.

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