A Case Study in Managing the Analytics ‘‘Iceberg’’: Data Cleaning and Management using Alteryx

Ann O’Brien, Dan N. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This case introduces accounting students to data management using a ‘‘no code’’ approach. Many tools can be used for extract, transform, load (ETL) processes. Herein, we introduce ETL using Alteryx Designer, a market-leading tool for managing and manipulating data. In the case, students learn basic data cleaning and joining skills, explore key data management concepts including workflows and metadata, and learn how to create and document workflows in Alteryx. Undergraduate or graduate accounting students who have basic database knowledge (e.g., in an introduction to accounting systems class) and data processing skills will benefit from the case. Evidence from use suggests that the case is relevant, challenging, and useful for the goal of teaching introductory and intermediate-level ETL skills, using Alteryx. The case is easy to implement and an important resource for teaching data management and Alteryx Designer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-245
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ann O’Brien thanks the Wisconsin School of Business Master of Accountancy program students Rui Ma, Taylor Sekel, and the Spring 2020 Capstone class. Dan Stone thanks Michael (Chuancai) Zhang for his contributions to the case. Thanks also to the editor and three anonymous reviews for helpful comments and suggestions on the case. Ann O’Brien thanks the PwC Foundation Inquiries Program and the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin School of Business for financial support for this project. Dan N. Stone thanks the University of Kentucky, the Gatton College of Business and Management, and the Von Allmen School of Accountancy for financial support of this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, American Accounting Association. All rights reserved.


  • Alteryx
  • Data analytics
  • Data management
  • Extract, transform, load (ETL)
  • Workflows, ETL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Computer Science Applications


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