Monday, December 10, 2007

Accounting and accountability

Dear Colleagues

Hardly a day goes by without some new revelation about failed accounting and an inability to track resources. There is a disturbing pattern in the reports and the stories carried in the media. The problems are not being found in a timely way. Rather they are coming to light a long time after the accounting failed and the ability to track resources was lost.

One almost has to ask "Why bother?" with the investigation into lost resources when months and years have already past. It is usually way too late to recover the lost items, and arguably too late to hold the responsible parties to account. Which, of course, is probably why the investigations are delayed in the first place.

I don't hear any outcry from the accountancy profession about this epidemic of failed accounting ... nothing from the big name accounting firms ... and hardly a wimper from any quarter. I am amazed, and frankly, absolutely disgusted.

Clearly there is a need for some more rigorous oversight mechanism that reflects either a more appropriate use of modern technology or reverts to a better use of very old fashioned techniques that used to serve quite well. The status quo is unacceptable and needs to change.


Peter Burgess