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Data KPIs: Three Areas of Focus for Accounting Firms

8/20/19, 12:59 PM

In helping accounting organizations with their enterprise data requirements, we've come across three challenges many organizations face when they want to capture data to ensure they have the right Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to manage the business. 

Enterprise Data Value
Confidently piecing together a consolidated view of interactions and transactions among partners, client-facing professionals and member firms is an important piece of the relationship puzzle. Seeing this data in one view can safeguard objectivity and independence for your firm. 

Whether you want to improve risk compliance or keep records up to date, data is continuously updated, monitored and enriched so organizations can deliver more value to their clients

How well do you discover, extract, analyze and report on the data you own? This is an operational efficiency opportunity. Do you understand which data is most important to your business? How much are you investing in critical data? You can view this blog post, which talks about how enterprises should value their data, plus how to link data quality and value.

Information Leakage 
The last thing customers want to hear is that their information has been compromised. Information leakage, one of many security issues, happens when a system that is designed to be closed reveals some information to unauthorized users. Personally identifiable information is important for firms, yet more important to protect. No one wants a data breach.  

Security firm Ensighten said 83 percent of global organizations anticipate a potential data breach (white paper) - yet two-thirds are not armed for prevention. Cookies, caching, supporting files and more can expose PII data. Nearly half of executives said their companies experienced client-side website data breaches or leakages, with 59 percent of those data incidents leading to regulatory fines. While some aspects of information leakage are out of the control of an organization, there is still more that can be done by combining reactive and proactive approaches. 

Software audits help, but are usually found to identify incidents after they happen. This can happen with third-party vendors, for example. IT grants access to their networks, but forgets to end access after the project or work is completed. Even though many software audits happen after a mishap, they’re still fully necessary on an ongoing basis. You’ll want to consider quality control verification, defect management, development standards and more to ensure compliance with your agreements, contracts and standards. 

Remediation costs and regulatory and legal fines are also information leakage culprits. Improving security measures, readjusting the security budget, and training can go a long way toward reducing the impact of remediation costs and regulatory and legal fines. According to IBM's "Cost of a Data Breach” study in 2018, the average cost of a data breach totaled $3.86 million, yet only 21 percent of study respondents devoted greater than $500,000 to client-side website security. 

What steps are you and IT taking to strengthen the security of your data and your customers' data

Manual Processes
Tracking data and discovering insight from unstructured data is time consuming. Analyzing rules and workflows can help you identify where processes can be improved. What percentage of your processes are optimized?

Organizations have hired teams of people to remain compliant. We're talking hundreds or thousands of people to upgrade compliance and control frameworks, depending on company size. This hasn't halted automation. With automation, teams are able to spend less time tracking and analyzing regulatory developments. According to the "Cost of Compliance 2019," teams tracked more than 57,000 alerts and monitored nearly 1,000 organizations in 2018. 

Optimized processes can safeguard objectivity and independence. Broker data management, for example, provides companies the luxury of understanding the financial holdings of an individual and can provide alerts to individuals to strengthen independence. 

Tracking this information minimizes the administrative task of managing financial holdings data and is one small step toward being aligned with company and country-specific compliance regulations. 

What processes can you update or improve to capture and share data in a timely fashion?

There are several KPIs you can use to measure your effectiveness. We've highlighted a few above that should impact every organization, covering data management, security and automation. Learn more about how you can take advantage of your data, keep it secure, and improve how well your organization uses it. 

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