Innovation

My teenage children have found a new pastime. They like to rattle off lists of everyday items that were invented after their parents were born. They find this to be hilarious. Items topping their list include cable television, cell phones, laptop computers, software, the Internet, Kindle, Xbox, CDs, and DVDs. Of course, this game is followed by a bunch of questions about how we used to live in the “good old days” — with only three network television stations and no ESPN. When I tell them that my family didn’t own a color TV until I was well past grade school, they seem stunned. So much has changed.

Stanford University is offering a course on iPhone and iPad Application Programming. Technology is miniaturized, with amazing amounts of computing power carried in the palm of our hands in our cellular devices. Information travels quickly — accuracy is much less important than speed. Next time you have nothing to do, count the number of typos and grammatical errors appearing in the news crawl at the bottom of your favorite news show.

So with this innovation comes a new way of communicating. E-mail is for the over-40 crowd (because it requires the ability to type with all fingers). Texting and instant messaging have replaced phone calls and conversation (texting should only require the thumbs if you’re really good). Social networks share all of our random thoughts with hundreds of our “friends,” who seem to post thoughts even more random than yours. My favorite Facebook post this morning was “Hello Tuesday.” Yup. Very helpful.

So what should auditors be doing with all of this innovation? My sense is that we should embrace it. Let’s get some of our best and brightest to write us some audit apps. It could truly revolutionize the profession!

Oops ... too late ... found a bunch already in the App Store. There is even an ERM iPhone app. Uh oh — I think I’m becoming obsolete.

Posted on Mar 8, 2011 by Kiko Harvey

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