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Data (and XBRL) is the new plastics

Posted By: Tom Hood on December 28, 2011 in Leadership / Management&Training & CPE&XBRL

Remember the Simon & Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson" from the movie, "The Graduate?"

It follows the story of recent college grad Benjamin Braddock, who was trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. He then gets seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, only to fall in love with her daughter. It is a classic '60s comedy featuring some great performances. 

If you were rewriting the movie script for "The Graduate," you could change the scene where the guy walks up to Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman as the young graduate) to give him career advice from "Plastics ... enough said" to "Data ... enough said!"

That is structured and standardized data, the kind that XBRL Global Ledger creates. Combine standardized data with data visualization tools that help make sense of the data and you can see why data is the new plastics!

Actually, the full "Graduate" reference is from Steve King's post, Data is the new Plastics, over at Small Business Labs, and I couldn't agree with him more. Steve is the futurist who helped Intuit examine the future in its 2020 report. (He also attended the CPA Horizons 2025 future forum in San Francisco last spring.) Here is what Steve said in his post:

"Last week we held a workshop on data and analytics with our research partners at Intuit.  We had a mix of experts on data and analytics from both large and small organizations. 

There was a very clear consensus that there is a shortage of people with data and analytical skills  -- and this shortage is going to get worse and last a long time."

Data ... enough said!

Once again, the research from Intuit and Steve King is spot-on with the research from the CPA Horizons 2025 report, which identified technology (XBRL, transparency, the cloud and social technologies) as the biggest driver of change (and opportunity) for CPAs in the future. Check out these three key insights from the Horizon's report:

"The way CPAs report and analyze financial information will be changed because of changes in technology."

"Technology is going to drive financial reporting to be faster, even to the point of being real time."

"The profession will need to adopt and become a leader in effectively using new technology."

Then there is our own experience with data. We used XBRL GLobal Ledger to tag all of our transactions from several systems to create drill-down financial statements and automatically generate our KPI analysis. See our case study and the presentation to the XBRL US Conference. You can also follow all of our posts about XBRL here.

See our earlier blog post, Dy-no-mite opportunity for CPAs

The writing is clearly on the wall. Data is the new plastics for CPAs.

Wanted: CPAs who understand technology and have data and analytical skills. 

What do you think? Is data is the new plastics?

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson ...

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