What's New in Accounting
BY OSCAR S. GELLEIN Partner, Executive Office
Presented before the University of Tulsa Accounting
Conference, Tulsa, Oklahoma — April 1957
Some things are new forever, or appear to be; others are old tomorrow. The pace of new developments in accounting is somewhere between these extremes. Accounting seldom makes a sharp turn. As the practice of accounting, both industrial and public, has matured and as the concepts relating to it have been tested by experience and reason, the turns have become even less sharp. This is a sign of professional maturity. This is not to say, however, that accounting will not be facing new challenges and finding
new ways of meeting them. Changes in methods of production, in techniques
of distribution, in ways of financing, and in the relations of government
to business will undoubtedly introduce new problems. Concurrently, accountants will be striving for more efficient ways of recording financial information and for more effective ways of making it useful.
So, to look at what is new in accounting is in large measure to examine a new position in a continuing trend or the reversal of one.
On the other hand, there have been a few developments in recent years that have been spectacular. Developments in electronics are among them. The humming of the equipment and perhaps the flashing of lights may be the outward manifestations of almost unbelievable speeds for handling data. Developments in integrated data processing are far enough along to furnish evidence of a vast range of applications. The potential of electronic data processing, preliminary cautions about it, and its present-day limitations have been discussed and written about at great length. Its challenge to the independent auditor also is being considered. All of these matters deserve continuing attention by accountants.
Developments in operations research presage new fields for the accountant. It is stimulating to think of the possibilities attending the development
of a theory of business and of the application of the scientific method to the solution of business problems.
Developments in the use of statistics, particularly statistical sampling, to accounting are under way. Present indications are that developments in applying statistics to internal accounting will, at least for a time, outrun