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Yearly Archives: 2015

Mind the digital gap!

A recent study of Go.On UK has found that in the UK around 12 million people and 1 million small businesses are lacking the five basic digital skills of managing information, communicating, making payments, solving problems, and creating material online. Accordingly, these digitally excluded individuals and businesses are at great risk to miss out on vital job skills as well as crucial profit-making abilities. This article published on the BBC Technology website illustrates why missing the digital train is not an option in 2015!

XBRL: an edge to accounting skills

XBRL LogoIn our last blog post, we linked to a video that explains XBRL in plain English. Still, interested students of accounting information systems might wonder whether it is worth their time to acquire XBRL skills. This article by Bill Sheridan and Jeff Drew from 2012 clarifies why XBRL might add an edge to accountants in the job market.

XBRL in plain English

Our textbook dedicates an entire chapter to XBRL, the eXtensible Business Reporting Language. Its importance to the accountant becomes obvious when considering that it provides a standard for electronic business reporting. This video by XBRL Spain provides a great, quick overview what XBRL means, without the need for knowing code first.

 

The technological crux of the British police

For the well-connected criminal in Britain, these seem beneficial times. Whilst crime organises itself using the Dark Web and social media, leveraging whatever new technologies may offer them, police forces lag behind considerably. Where the need for integrated data and data sharing is somewhat undisputed in the business context, it seems less obvious when it comes to the institutions that are supposed to preserve the fabric and foundations of society. The most prominent example is the British police force that seem a far cry from the technological depictions of the likes of TV’s CSI. According to this article in The Economist (“Low Tech Coppers”), the mish-mash of the police’s IT landscape seems to be an obstacle rather than a means to solving and preventing crime. The article cleary illustrates the need for an integrated view on big data in the societal context – with a staggering 750 different computer systems that do not share data with one another, one cannot help thinking that this should be an obvious choice for investment in adequate IT.

Careers in Accounting Information Systems

From many chats with my accounting students, a large number of them seem to get the impression that studying AIS enables them to only pursue an accounting career. They more often than not react surprised when they learn that studying AIS opens career paths as financial or systems auditors, consultants, or even to upper management levels like CFOs. This article on Investopedia provides more details on these professions, their corresponding education requirements, and further links for the student interested in studying AIS.

Big data, real-time analytics and the accountant

We have often stated in this blog that the role of the accountant is changing. This change is heavily driven by new achievements in technology like cloud computing that enable anytime-anywhere access to decision-relevant data. At the same time, businesses acquire a plethora of data about their customers – so much data that professionals need the knowledge, skills and tools to excavate what is relevant, and what is not. As accountants, we should be in the middle of this “data excavation site”, handling this data mine to discover its treasures. This ACCA article argues that the finance profession (including accounting) needs to extend its reach and apply its core skills of gathering, manipulating and providing relevant information to a much larger data set. To enable accountants to do so, they will need to be the link between the IT department running the tools that enable real-time analytics of big data, and the business that needs to make sense of the results and put it in a strategic context. This will add skills to accounting that include data analytics and software engineering, leading to a hybrid role of accountants in the future.

Do you know who is driving your car? It might not be you!

The newest generation of cars are much more than just four wheels and a steering wheel. They contain more software-controlled features than the USS Enterprise, and in times of people being online at all times, so are their new cars’ onboard systems. This seemingly useful addition to our road journeys, however, also bears a risk that any online device potentially faces: being accessed (read: hacked) by a third party. As the American car manufacturer Tesla recently found out, a lack of control who is able to access (and manipulate) the onboard software may lead to severe ramifications, as this BBC article details. Ultimately, it demonstrates that everything that could go online (like fridges, clothes, watches or vehicles) needs to have a plethora of control features attached to it.