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September 29, 2023

In the Future, Accountants Count Everything

In today’s brain dump, I wanted to bring you some good news: Accounting is not going out of business, it’s just changing.

The accounting profession has evolved from single entry, to double entry, to management accounting, to where we are today. In the not too distant future, accountants will count everything! Not just money.

You've heard of the Internet of Things, right? The internet of things is the concept that in the future, all “things” will be connected; they will be able to communicate to each other and the wider internet.

I call the accounting version the Quantification of Things [QoT], where by all relevant business metrics flow seamlessly into one central reporting console [Single Ledger] in real time with 99% accuracy.

Anything that can be counted will be counted, and accountants will be the ones doing the counting. Actually, accountants will teach the computers to do the counting while we sip mojitos on the beach.
This QoT concept derives from the notion that business owners are interested in financial metrics. The reality is that most accounting metrics are a byproducts of leading performance indicators. Executives and business owners are far more interested in those leading indicators but until recently, this data has been very hard to collect in a timely fashion. These days a small business can produce the same quality of business intelligence that used to be reserved for the largest of companies. What’s better is it can be done for a fraction of the cost, in a fraction of the time. I call this the democratization of business intelligence.

I fully expect regulatory bodies to mandate standardized sustainability and leading key performance indicators for public companies in our lifetime. I wouldn't be surprised if companies will be expected to report on a monthly basis (or even real time).

These changes point to a growing accounting sector. Not a contracting one.

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