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Data Analytics for Accounting and Finance Professionals

Data analytics is the process of collecting, inspecting, organizing, and transforming data to identify useful information that informs decision-making. It’s more than a tool or input — it’s a process that, when utilized correctly, provides a 360-degree view of the problem being solved, allowing decision-makers to make informed decisions with the most comprehensive information available.

In today’s business world, most people need to be able to find their way around an Excel® spreadsheet. For those in accounting and finance roles, however, the bar is much higher. To set yourself apart and perform at peak proficiency, CPAs, auditors and other accounting and finance professionals can become data “wizards” with tools like Power BI and Power Query.

Core Data Analytics: Excel and Power BI Skills for Accounting and Finance Professionals

In this ten-part on-demand webcast series, we concentrate on the Power BI tools in Microsoft Excel® that enable accounting, auditing, and finance professionals to develop their own self-service data analysis. By completing all ten modules, you'll earn a professional certification, demonstrating to current employers and future hiring managers that you’ve got just the right skills to bring value to their organization. 

 

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Data Analytics with Power Query – Mastering ETL Skills

Power Query is an “ETL” tool that extracts, transforms, and loads data. The user-friendly interface enables the Excel user to connect to data sets that were previously unable to access. It can combine data from Excel, websites, and internal links. Power Query also enables powerful data transformations without requiring any coding, and saves time when performing data cleanup. Complete all 12 modules for certification.

 

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Who Should Take These Courses?

Accounting professionals, (public accounting, private industry, consulting, or government), can use data analytics to help:

  • uncover valuable insights within their financial statements
  • reduce costs
  • identify process improvements
  • better identify and manage risks
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Why should you care about data analytics?

It’s no surprise that technology and the big data it produces have become ubiquitous in day-to-day operations of most large businesses. Data scientists, data analysts, and non-IT professionals with data analytics knowledge have become critical in their organization’s quest to transform raw data into workable formats, which can be used to identify trends and draw meaningful conclusions.

Accounting and finance professionals can both set themselves apart from their colleagues and future-proof their careers by developing an expertise in data analytics. Professionals both in public accounting and in industry can use these skills to make sense of the massive quantities of financial information available to evaluate business performance, identify and manage risk, and analyze customer behavior to anticipate market trends more efficiently and accurately than ever before

  • Data analytical tools (i.e., ETL) can complete tasks that previously took hours in a fraction of the time.

  • Data analysis can identify trends and patterns in the data that are unobservable in traditional sampling.

  • Microsoft's data analysis tools (Power Query and Power BI) can analyze larger and larger samples in the same time traditional smaller samples could be analyzed.

  • It saves time, is more accurate, and provides more coverage. 

Set yourself apart from other job candidates and demonstrate that you have the skills to deliver value from day one on the job.

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Key Differences: POWER BI vs. POWER QUERY 


POWER BI


Power BI is a convenient business analytics solution that allows users to transform data into a visually appealing presentation. This tool is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn a variety of sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Power BI allows users to easily connect necessary data sources (including Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based documents or on-premises data), visualize and discover what's important, and then share that with anyone else.

Benefits

  • Works with large data sets that Excel cannot handle
  • Significantly more data analysis options than Excel
  • Easy to read and share reports
    • Power BI is a centralized/self-service model– there is a single number of truth
    • It’s ideal for routine, standardized reporting
    • Reports can be shared in web browsers or apps - readers do not need to have Excel or Power BI to access

SurgentIQ Data CPE

POWER QUERY


Power Query is a powerful, user-friendly business intelligence tool available in Excel that allows users to import data from many different sources and then clean, transform and reshape your data as needed. The intuitive user-interface allows users to set up a query once and then reuse it again and again, saving time on monthly/repeated reports. Power Query can import and clean millions of rows into the data model for analysis after. 

Benefits

  • Unlike most other tools, there is no coding needed
  • Power Query Editor lets you transform data easier and with more flexibility than other tools
  • Connects to hundreds of data sources (e.g., websites, internal folders, Excel files)
  • Can pull data from anywhere with a hyperlink
  • Great for ad-hoc reporting 
  • Automates reporting down to a click of the refresh button for anytime a new version is needed

Surgent IQ Data CPE

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About the Instructor

Virginia Collins is a former Manager in the Quality Control Department of Berdon LLP. With more than 35 years of experience in public accounting, she has advised clients across many industries. Leveraging broad experience in auditing, accounting, and internal controls, she has expertise in information technology including data analytics, Excel, and active data.

Ms. Collins is a member of the Business Analysis and Reporting Task Force for NASBA and the AICPA’s CPA Evolution initiative, advising on the integration of emerging technology into the new exam curriculum. She is a Certified Informational Technology Professional (CITP), which is a specialty designation awarded by the AICPA to CPAs with the unique ability to bridge business and technology. She was appointed a Committee Member of the AICPA Credential Committee where she has been actively involved in increasing the use of Computer Assisted Auditing Techniques (CAATs) by CPAs. Her experience extends to planning of engagements — applying CAATs techniques and training staff on their use, internal control I.T. review, quality control review of engagements, data analytics, continuous auditing and business intelligence, and advising on the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

 

V.Collins
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