Big data has changed the role of the finance professional in a number of ways. The introduction of predictive analytics means practitioners can track customer data in real-time and evolve from simply keeping records to carrying out in-depth analysis of the data – moving from asking “why did it happen?” to exploring “what happens next”. It has also highlighted the importance of using non-financial data to further enrich insights. Customer behaviour patterns can be used to detect fraud and suspicious activity, and supplier data can be used to anticipate shipment information so that this can be considered when creating forecasts. Research by FSN on planning, budgeting, and forecasting has found that CFOs that make good use of non-financial data are able to forecast with 90-95% accuracy.

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