Has Excel Become a 'Golden Hammer': The Paradox of Data Analytics in SME Clusters

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Church, Kimberly Swanson
Riley, Jennifer
Schmidt, Pam J.
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
Issue Date
November 2020
Alternative Title
Demand for data analysis skills in the accounting profession is well documented and necessarily informs accounting curriculum and pedagogy. In this studyl, we find small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) use Excel spreadsheets extensively for their data analytics tasks. As a result, their demands for skills and abilities of new job entrants may differ from the large organizations that serve as the original drivers of analytic skills and technology recommendations. SMEs comprise approximately 95-99% of firms in the U.S. economy, created 65% of new jobs from 2000-2018 (US SBA 2019), and compete with large firms using scarce financial and labor resources. The contribution of this study is to address the void in accounting research on the current state of data analytics technology and skills in SMEs and to encourage accounting educators to build a base of accessible knowledge for SMEs to take advantage of the potential benefits of emerging introductory data analytics.