Accountants understand data. They are trained to collect, interpret and report on information their systems gather. But never before has it been possible to do that on such a large scale. The availability of big data sets, coupled with readily available tools to analyse them, creates an opportunity for accountants to be at the heart of the decision-making process within the organisation. Are you ready?

This transformation of the finance function is recognised widely. A recent survey by ACCA and IMA, claimed that 62% of companies globally cited big data as hugely important to the future of business, potentially giving savvy businesses an edge on their competitors. Data analytics offers accountants the chance to be at the heart of this, but also the threat that their role could be usurped by techies with less understanding of the finances of the business.

This learning pathway will look at what data analytics is and enable accountants to become familiar in how to use it to create added value in their organisation. It will look at the tools and techniques available and how they can be applied by the finance professional.

In short, this learning pathway will make you ready to engage with the new world of big data and data analytics.

This learning pathway addresses the key elements of successful data analytics:

  • understand data analytics
  • use Excel to complete statistical analysis
  • use more advanced data analysis tools
  • understand how to apply the concepts to create value in the real world
  • anticipate the trends for the future. 

Key information

  • Duration: 20 weeks
  • Weekly study: 1 hour
  • Start date: in session
  • ACCA members use code ACCA101 at checkout for 10% discount

Programme outline

The programme has been split into different topics, which will be covered each week of the course.  

  • Programme outline

    What is data analytics?

    1. Introductory webinar: Accountants and the Data Revolution Paula Guilfoyle

    2. Pathway orientation and planning

    3. The big data era – data science, data analytics and impact on accountants

    4. Types of analytics and data – predictive, descriptive/nominal, ordinal, categorical, numerical

    5. What is business intelligence?

    Statistics for accountants in Excel

    6. Descriptive statistics in Excel

    7. Basic probability in Excel

    8. Variables - an overview

    9. The basics of sampling

    10. Hypothesis testing

    More advanced data analysis tools 

    11. Introduction to PowerBI

    12. Data preparation and data cleaning

    13. Data modelling with CAX

    14. Data visualisation

    Case studies

    15. Case study – business intelligence in action

    16. Case study – loan application

    Moving forwards

    17. Machine learning and its role in accounting

    18. Hadoop, big data and the cloud

    19. Bridging the gap between IT and accounting departments

    20. Wrap-up and action planning

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ACCA learning pathways in association with accountingcpd, who work with leading industry specialists to develop bespoke CPD courses.

Disclaimer: This course is available for ACCA members, you may need your ACCA membership number to complete your booking. This course and outline is provided by a third-party course provider. All course bookings are subject to the terms and conditions set by the course provider. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms and conditions. ACCA takes no liability for bookings made with third-party suppliers.