by J. David Moxley
During the past 15 or 20 years, something of an evolutionary
process has been going on during which computers
have undeniably altered almost every walk of
life. This impact is perhaps nowhere more evident than
in management, for the machines that have wrought
minor miracles in the scientific world have proved to be
both boon and boondoggle to the business world.
Relatively up-to-date financial analysis was among
the first applications of computers that awakened businessmen
to the potential of the machines. But many
painful experiences in those early years also brought an
awareness of a major problem: the difficult, often impossible,
task of communication between non-technical
managers who were not systems oriented and computer
personnel who did not fully understand business needs.
If computers were to be viewed not as facilities to be
managed but as tools for creative management, this
problem had to be overcome.
Unquestionably the computer has made contributions
in the past to the evaluation of complex business problems.
It has provided new perspectives on masses of
data and economical trial-and-error experimentation
through simulation. These advances occurred despite a
communications gap, but are becoming increasingly
common as the communications problem is solved. As
managers become more successful in communicating,
their use of computer-based information systems becomes
more and more extensive. This step in the evaluation
of business problems has a significant impact on
the philosophy and style of management.
If we as auditors fail to keep pace, it is likely that a
detrimentally wide gap between the management art and
the auditing art will open. This article describes STRATA
(System by Touche floss for /Audit Technical Assistance)
—an auditor-oriented computer system designed by
Touche Ross which should be a major factor in preventing
WHAT IS STRATA?
STRATA is a generalized computer software program