Accounting Trends — Data Processing by Electronics
BY PAUL W. PINKERTON PRINCIPAL, NEW YORK OFFICE
Presented at the Georgia Accounting Conference,
Athens, Georgia — November, 1955
You have seen during the last year or two a tremendous acceleration
in the trend toward extensive mechanization of accounting and record-
keeping activities. Developments in this area have led some of the more poetically-minded to talk of an office revolution having a significance
equaling that of the industrial revolution of the 18th century. Even the most prosaic analysis indicates that startling advances are in being. It is well for us, as accountants, to keep abreast of developments and their effect on our work. This we are doing. The journals of the accounting
societies, such as the Accounting Review, The Journal of Accountancy,
The Controller, The Internal Auditor, and the N. A. C. A. Bulletins, are carrying an increasing number of excellent articles dealing with electronics, integrated data processing, and the like. The Controllership Foundation has recently published a 175-page descriptive reference guide to literature in the field of electronics as it relates to the office. The inclusion of this topic in the agenda of this Conference is further evidence that we are aware of our obligations and opportunities.
What are these obligations and opportunities? First, of course, we have the obligation to take full advantage of equipment which will make accounting and record keeping more efficient - to slow or reverse the trend toward higher costs resulting from the needs of business and government for more and better information and for earlier availability of information. The adoption of radical types of new equipment, and the accompanying changes in procedures, create a demand for careful consideration
of their internal control aspects. To the internal auditor and the public accountant comes the problem of applying auditing principles in developing new techniques for the verification of financial statements. In recognition of this last, Mr. Arthur Foye, as president of the American
Institute of Accountants, last year appointed a committee to study and advise on the effects of electronic data-processing equipment on auditing procedures.