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Data: a world of opportunities

Join Mark Taylor and Kirstin Gillon of ICAEW, and Anthony Sayce FCA of EY, for the fourth in our series of Tech Faculty ‘Tech Talks’, this time on the subject of data and the opportunities it presents for practice and business.

About the video

In this talk, we provide some examples of different types of data and how it can be used. We discuss the role of data in audit, how big data is being used by businesses in China, some of the concerns around data usage and finally the importance and role of the finance professional in this increasingly important area.

Kirstin has written extensively on the use of data in business, including a new report on data and ethics. Anthony is an associate partner and Assurance Digital Innovation Leader at EY UK.


In order to make the most of the opportunities with data, accountants can take the following key steps:

  1. Ask the right questions – think of data as a way of answering questions about customers or clients, suppliers, business performance or risks. What do you want to know?
  2. Understand the available data – what data can help to answer these questions? Think broadly about possible new sources of data, like open data, and how they can add to existing business data.
  3. Implement data governance – most data analytics projects spend most of their time fixing issues with data. The more proactive you can be about data quality and standards, the easier it will be to get useful insights from data.
  4. Identify appropriate tools – there are lots of new tools and applications out there, so exploring the market can be useful. But don’t underestimate the power of spreadsheets – they can still play a very useful role.
  5. Gain access to the right mix of skills - this includes expertise with handling data and knowledge of statistics. Critical thinking and communication skills also remain vital.

Further resources

Find out more about ICAEW’s work in this field at icaew.com/data.

More videos from the IT Faculty

Watch the other videos in this series.

All four videos form part of the Tech Faculty’s work that describes how these technologies are transforming the profession.