Why understanding data is critical for CPAs

In 2017, The Economist published an article “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”. Since this was published this has not changed, if anything the growth in the value of data has accelerated. At the same time recent news of ransomware attacks has also shown us that risk of data has grown at the same time.

What does this have to do with the CPA profession?

Imagine a new business client walked into a CPA firm and had no idea as to the value of their business. When the CPA questions them, they don’t know the value of their assets, their liabilities, or even the number of assets that they own.  This would be a huge red flag for the business and would immediately open up multiple consulting opportunities for the CPA firm. But with data becoming “the world’s most valuable resource” how many of a CPA firms clients can answer those questions as it relates to data? As the value of data, the associated risks continue to grow and it is critical for CPAs to understand this critical resource. 

In future years this shift to a digital, data driven economy is expected to continue and accelerate. CPA firms that desire to stay relevant will need to understand their client’s data. This includes the value it brings as well as the risk associated with this data. As the data driven economy continues to grow CPAs need to prepare for this to become a critical aspect of valuations, Audits, and many other aspects of their consulting practices.

Read The Economist article here.