The acquisition of data analytics specialists Zettafox signals a drive within top ten firm Mazars to embrace machine learning, not just for its clients but for the firm itself.
Tech acquisitions in accountancy are usually associated with Big Four firms, but Mazars’ purchase of data intelligence firm Zettafox shows how integral machine learning has become for firms outside the usual suspects who want a competitive advantage.
“Of course we have a lot of talented people within Mazars, and we have already begun to work on the innovation on our side but we have to accelerate,” said Mazars Laurent Inard, a partner at Mazars France.
Zettafox uses machine learning and big data analytics to provide services such as data analysis in the development of decision-making tools.
Initially, Mazars will use these big data analytics as a software tool. Clients will be able to use the platform for their in-house analysis, and Mazars will work in tandem with this to sell its expertise on top of that.
Another area the technology will assist with is internal controls, where it will help detect issues such as fraud. But interestingly, Mazars has some big plans for how the machine learning algorithms will innovate its own services.
Supporting Mazar’s drive towards digital transformation
What Zettafox offers Mazars is real insight to predict and understand why certain things are going to happen, and Inard expects this technology will accelerate the way the firm performs audits for clients. “We are now working on a product that will help us perform audit with more exhaustive way to analyse all the data,” revealed Inard.
In addition, Mazars plans to deploy the technology to improve productivity and growth projects like marketing.
Marc Atallah, the co-founder at Zettafox, emphasised the versatility his firm's platform brings to the table “It's the same tool we use to optimise labour work or optimising financial technical aspects, all the way to marketing mix or even fragrance creating.”
To illustrate how beneficial the product will be for Mazars, Attallah used its work with the fragrance industry as an example. With the algorithm's capability, Zettafox provided fragrance makers with a combination of ingredients which maximise specific perceptions so that they can make better fragrances.
“We break down fragrance formulas, run machine learning on them, and we come up with interesting combinations that perfumers can use to better answer needs or briefs that they receive from the market,” explained Attallah.
As part of the acquisition, Zettafox’s three co-founders and managers, Patrick Zerbib, Marc Atallah and Luis Belmar Letelier, are to become partners of Mazars France.
Mazars has been active in the tech space recently. In August Mazars joined large firms like KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and BDO by packaging online accounting services for the SME market. elev8 by Mazars is a bespoke solution for SMEs combining a full range of advisory and business support services.
About Richard Hattersley
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