Data Visualization – A cheat sheet

With many software applications available that will analyze data available, most anyone can create visualizations. The options for the types of visualizations is nearly endless. But what graphic can tell the story of your data the best.

This infographic shows many of the basic rules of creating visualizations. and making them easier for the user.

https://www.kdnuggets.com/2018/08/data-visualization-cheatsheet.html

Future-proof your career

At the SAP Sapphire 2019 conference, Kerry Brown, VP of workplace adoption spoke on the technological changes affecting the workplace. He believes that “AI has the capability to impact and replace jobs in any workplace.”

Brown outlined 5 ways employees can “stretch” themselves from the disruption in the workforce.

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-future-proof-your-career-5-tips/

Change with caution

At a recent conference, Randy Johnston, founder of K2, spoke of the emerging technologies affecting the accounting profession. He also warned of giving into FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out. Most firms cannot adopt all of the new technologies at once.

For the rest of his remarks, see the article on Accounting Today at:

https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/johnston-accountants-need-to-change-carefully

Excel Tip – Flash Fill

Here’s your Monday Excel tip to help you become an Excel whiz!

Excel 2013 has a great new Flash Fill feature gives you the ability to take a part of the data entered into one column of a worksheet table and enter just that data in a new table column using only a few keystrokes.  Unlike a formula, the new columns are static, so if the original information is updated, the data won’t change.  If you need to have the new columns update, then Text Formulas are the better choice. 

In the following example, flash fill was used to complete all of the information after the 1st row was complete:

To use the Flash-fill:

  1. Type in the pattern of the information you wish to extract.  It must be in a column next to the original data.
  2. Press Enter
  3. From the ribbon, select Cells > Fill > Flash Fill or press CTRL + E

In the following examples, names of individuals were imported into a single column. The Flash Fill can be used to separate the names into 3 columns, but generate an email address, based on the pattern in the first cell of the column.

Enter the data in the first cell. Press Enter, then CTRL + e
The first name is complete.

Auto-fill is used to fill in the rest of the data, including:

This feature can be used in a lot of different situations. This YouTube has 20 more ideas of how you can use Flash Fill.

The ups and downs of Artificial Intelligence

The various forms of AI are poised to significantly change the accounting workforce. There are many benefits to using AI in the accounting functions, such as reduction of errors, the ability to process larger datasets and the availability of more data for decision-making.

There are many downsides to the use of AI as discussed in this article: https://sfmagazine.com/post-entry/april-2019-ai-new-risks-and-rewards/

Not your Father’s CFO

With the cost of a data breach reaching over $2 million per instance, the C-suite can no longer leave cybersecurity solely to IT. CFOs are becoming more involved with defining strategy for data security with the technology leaders.

Read Jeff Thompson’s, Institute of Management Accountants CEO, article on how financial executives are taking a more proactive role when it comes to data security.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffthomson/2019/04/29/not-your-fathers-cfo-todays-cfos-incorporate-cybersecurity-in-their-risk-portfolio/#165fea3f395d

Accountants as Storytellers

Accountants not only need to analyze data and interpret the results, but they need to tell the story behind the data.

” Stories aren’t just for entertainment. Powerful stories evoke emotion and can inspire us to take action and make changes in ways that a PowerPoint data dump can’t. Those just put us to sleep like a lullaby. “

Help your clients understand the data and better relate to the facts.

For more information see the article at:

https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/why-accountants-need-to-be-data-storytellers

Excel Tip – Keyboard shortcuts

The fastest Excel users have one thing in common They rarely use the mouse. Most all actions in Excel can be done with a keyboard shortcut. Here are some of my favorites:

CTRL + HOME — Go to Cell A1

CTRL + END — Goes to the last cell used. 

CTRL+SHIFT + right arrow then down arrow — will select all contiguous cells

CTRL + A –  Selects entire spreadsheet

F4 – Changes cell address to Absolute

CTRL + T – Converts data range to a table

CTRL + E — Flash Fill 

CTRL + ; — Inserts the current date.