The concept of data analytics has become a primary focus for companies of all types, and from within all industries. Leveraging data to enhance the decision making power of management is now vital for companies to remain competitive. Beginning as a movement pioneered by tech-startups and teams of university researchers, data analytics is reshaping every industry that it touches, and the field of accounting has been no exception.
Corporate buzzword terms like “big data” and “data analytics” are vague in meaning, and are thrown around by media sources often enough to obfuscate their actual meanings. These concepts are then associated with company-wide initiatives beyond the reach of the individual, in a nebulous world where people know that analytics happens, but don’t understand what it is.
The power of data analytics is not reserved for company-wide initiatives, or only employed by Silicon Valley tech start-ups. Its impacts are visible down at the team or department level, and can be conducted by the individual employees. The field of data analytics is evolving, and within it exists a rapid transition in which the individual employee is becoming a source for insight and value creation through the adoption of analytics based approaches.
The purpose of this thesis is to showcase an example of this claim, and demonstrate how an analytics based approach was applied to an existing accounting process to create new insights and information. To do this, I will discuss my development of an Excel based Dashboard Analytics tool, which I completed during my internship with Bechtel Corporation throughout the summer of 2018, and I will use this analytics tool to demonstrate the improvements that small-scale analytics had on a pre-existing process. During this discussion, I will address conceptual aspects of database design that related to my project, and will show how I applied this classroom learning to a working environment. The paper will begin with an overview of the desired goals of the group in which I was based, and will then analyze how the needs of the group led to the creation and implementation of this new analytics-based reporting tool. I will conclude with a discussion of the potential future use of this tool, and how the inclusion of these analytical approaches will continue to shape the working environment.