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Accounting beyond accountability…

accountant.jpgI’m off to Halifax, Nova Scotia today; tomorrow, I’ll be the luncheon keynote speaker for an annual get together of Certified Management Accountants.

The overall conference theme is “accountability” : the profession is immersed in the throes of the Enron fallout, as companies wrestle with the new focus on corporate ethics and responsibility. Kurt Eichenwald, author of Conspiracy of Fools, a fabulous saga of the Enron story, is the opening speaker.

The entire conference is focused around the “accountability” theme. I take them in a different direction — what do we do after we deal with the accountability issue? Accountability is critical, but I think what is even more important is that accounting professionals need to a new set of responsibilities in the high velocity economy.

I captured some of those requirements in my post on The New Face of Manufacturing: Agility, Insight and Execution.” If you extend the thinking there, you can see that the real strategic opportunity for accounting professionals is to provide, manage and actively be involved in the critical insight needed to take an organization forward.

The key message: accountability is important, but I think everyone understands that. We need to start preparing for the next step.

(Did I say “we”? I did. My secret, as a fellow who focuses on innovation and creativity, is that I’m actually a professional accountant (and still am) … going back some 20+ years……)

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