A recent post at Accounting Mechanics suggests accountants should do anything necessary to fill the gap between Finance and IT. While I fully agree accountants are in a better position than IT specialists to provide useful management information, I can think of a few issues with that positioning, though:
- Old-school finance people might see you too much like an IT resource
- IT will most definitely see you as competition;-)
- The added value is obvious once you’re part of an organization and start to deliver results, but it’s difficult to “sell” that particular skill set without sounding too much like “an IT guy”
- You run the risk of ending up maintaining systems instead of using them to answer the very questions you built them to find answers to in the first place
Still, there seems to be quite a few of us out there tackling those issues and getting involved with a whole set of typically IT-only technologies. Feel free to let me know of any experience you wish to share in the comments.
I just happened to discover the Accounting Mechanics blog which focuses on “tools and techniques of the management accountant” and happens to have a link back to my own blog. I’ll catch up with posts there as soon as possible since there seems to be quite a few interesting articles. I’ve already spotted the following:
There’s also a link to another potentially interesting blog, that one focusing on “professional spreadsheet development stuff”.
I’ve wanted to elaborate on this post by Andrew Wiles for a while but it appears this isn’t going to happen anytime soon so I’ll simple refer you to it. Andrew analyzes some of the reasons why financial reporting (and MIS reporting in general) should be handled separately from mainstream IT, and goes on to discuss how responsibilities can be assigned accordingly. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you can relate to the situation described in his article:
- Financial reporting is reactive and requires dedicated, in-house, resource who can respond without delay.
- IT departments are project driven with formal procedures to allocating resource during project conception and manage change after implementation.
The Institue of Management Accountants has published a fairly exhaustive description of what management accounting is all about. If you hold that kind of position and this document identifies any activity you’re not performing today, then it should give you ideas to keep you busy for a while. And add value to your organization, too.