Big Data will be key to accountancy success, says KPMG

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KPMG has revealed that future threats from companies like Google were a key reason for its £40m investment into accounting services for small and start-up businesses.

When asked about its reasons for creating the cloud-based service, Iain Moffatt, Head of Enterprise at KPMG, said it was partly a response to the prospect of large tech companies entering the accountancy market and using 'Big Data' to steal market share from incumbent firms, including the Big Four.

"When we talked about [our mid market business], we considered our competition. Obviously, we thought about firms like PwC and EY. But then we paused and asked ourselves, is that really our competition? In the next five years, are big accountancy firms going to be our competition, or is it actually going to be Google, or Amazon, or somebody else?

"Today, our profession is all about data. The more data you have, the more powerful you are. With Big Data you can create more-effective KPIs, better benchmarking, and more accurate insights. That's the secret. That's what the future holds."

Moffatt referenced KPMG's deal with McLaren last November, further emphasising the firm's focus on data acquisition and analysis. "Our recent deal with McLaren wasn't about racing cars, it was about harnessing their fantastic data analytical capability."

He also argued that the market in which KPMG operates is changing fundamentally as start-ups become less interested in established brands, and more focused on the quality of data supplied by their services organisations.

"Fundamentally [Google is] a data organisation. That's what it sells. And what's stopping Google becoming a provider of advice based on data analysis in the future? The only thing stopping it is that it doesn't currently have a recognised or trusted brand in that field. But in five years' time, that might be different. If you're a new company, are you bothered about whether you deal with KPMG, Google, ABC, or XYZ? No, you care about what that company can do for you."

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