With increasing transformative technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) impacting the accounting industry, you may wonder what your career as an accountant could look like. With the rapid changes taking place, you need to take action now to enhance your prospects for future opportunities and continued success. Due to the increasing desire for companies to collect, organize, and mine data for business insights in real time, you may want to use your accounting skills to become a data analytics consultant. Here are some tips to begin as a data analytics consultant.

3 Ways Data Can Help You be a Better Consultant

1. Excel as a Data Scientist or Big Data Engineer

Many organizations are looking for both a data scientist and a big data engineer. To consult as a data scientist, you must be able to program, handle statistics, and manage large data sets. You would collaborate with others to help develop the audit and advisory products and put together final communications such as data visualization and actual presentations. To consult as a big data engineer, you need a clear understanding of big data software products such as Apache Hadoop and SPSS from IBM along with what -MATLAB from MathWorks does. You also must have strong skills for working with these types of data mining and statistical analysis tools. Along with programming, you would be involved in at least three other areas: data transformation, which involves extracting, transforming, and loading tools called ETLs; data collection services, which involve looking at application programming interfaces (APIs) tied to existing applications that allow access to the data; and data warehousing, which involves using tools such as MySQL, Oracle, and DB2.

2. Be Proficient in Relevant Fields

Along with an accounting degree, having a minor in computer science or math is beneficial. Otherwise, you could take online courses or another type of learning to provide a computer science background to complement your accounting knowledge. You need logic and the ability to think in code while collaborating on your consulting work. Technology skills are required as well, especially involving blockchain, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. You can learn from online classes, YouTube videos, Meetup groups, and other sources. Most important is being able to communicate what the data means to the client.

 3. Possess Required Soft Skills

As a data analytics consultant, soft skills are just as important as hard skills. Ethical competencies are necessary for handling regulatory review and reporting requirements, disclosure, and related issues. Being able to acquire and apply knowledge and sound reasoning to solve problems also is necessary. Coming up with new ideas and solutions and making connections to things that exist are vital. Vision for the next five years is needed to move the firm forward. Experience working with clients and understanding their business helps you add value.

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