Voices

Education goes a long way to understanding automation

In my journey into the technology space, I feel so under-skilled. I’m confident in my leadership abilities and in my accounting and cloud systems knowledge, not to mention radical practice management skills. But all this stuff about data, artificial intelligence and algorithms is intimidating — especially when the folks talking about it all are significantly younger than me. Did you know that accounting analytics could appear on the CPA Exam soon?

So, what does a Radical CPA do? She goes back to school to learn more and figure it out.

It’s proving to be challenging, yet interesting.

I’m taking this 400-level accounting data analytics class and it seems like I need a stronger math/statistics background. I hated stats in college, and still hate it now.

I’ve rallied my husband — who has a master’s degree in some sort of IT — to help me. We spent all afternoon working through the homework together. The next morning, the first words out of his mouth were, “We need to finish those Excel problems.”

We finished the homework, and I said, “It’s so much easier when you help me.” He replied, “I think it’s easier when you aren’t involved.” A couple that does data together, stays together? Not sure about that!

Data analytics adoption

I’ve already learned a ton of new Excel skills and it’s only the first month. I know I’ll never have to program in R, a computer programming language. I’ll probably never quite grasp the math, but with a varied group of people on my team and good delegating skills, I’ll never be without help. It’s really about understanding the opportunities.

As the leaders of today's firms, we have to learn these new skills so we can remain relevant and ultimately create more value for our customers and firms. How can we be the best business advisors when we don’t even have a basic understanding of these new tools?

For as much as I’m cursing the math, I’m loving the new world of data that my eyes are being opened to. For example, the ability to solve a problem by creatively utilizing tools to find potential answers.

Watch out, I’m dangerous — I can see so many real-world applications and I just might have a new data project for my tech team to tackle.

It’s really frustrating to see all these folks creating fear around data analytics, AI and bots, when it’s really just a new application of the accounting and business skills we already have. It’s just a different approach. Why are you afraid to learn about it?

The best way to combat fear is education. So, what class are you going to take?