Well I’ve finally come to the end of that, for a while at least. In a way it’s essential part of the condition – demonstrate adherence to the principle of maintaining your relevance in a changing world, and frequently, learning for learning’s sake. Long a staple of legal profession and others, it crept into Management Accounting in the early 2000s. Management Accounting originated with the Institute of Works and Cost Accountants. It’s value was in devising relevance measures for the effective cost control in business. There was a panoply of techniques in order to arrive at standard costs so that fair estimates could be made for the value of stocks and work in progress.
Sector: Energy Risk Modelling
When I was involved in risk modelling – energy supply in PFI – it was in its infancy. It is clear that risk modelling with an eye on financial impacts will become of increasing importance to interconnected large organisations. With that in mind I decided to revisit my working papers in this area. (March 2016)
Sector: Energy Risk Modelling
My methodology was designed to deal with situations where there was more than one risk; potentially overlapping risks. It defined a methodology through which risk could be modelled. I felt it likely that risk modelling had caught up and overtaken my (20 years ago) work. Research suggested however that this was not the case. More needs to be done so that risk-events are given adequate consideration, their consequences evaluated, and catastrophe averted. The concluding action was to make my article available to CIMA’s house magazine. (September 2016)
Times change. The Institute evolved into CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and in turn developed links with the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs). At that level it’s all about influence. CIMA is designing the capture of business accountants; meanwhile the core tenets are relatively unchanged, though the tools available have moved on greatly.
Cost standards, variances, costing, management reports by product, business segment, market segment… variances, reconciliations.
Sector: Aerospace: Report to Record
Simple, uncluttered reporting solutions are the ideal with business adding gloss. The reality is reporting develops in an ad hoc fashion, thus becoming cumbersome to operate. Most finance professionals grasp the principles but rarely have both expertise and opportunity to execute. It’s sometimes essential to clean up over-engineered and inflexible system. There are a number of principles, a key one being to minimise the effort required and time taken for month end processing. I supply enabling expertise to this area. (August 2017)
Sector: Construction / Demolition
Asbestos is a vendor’s difficulty and, a building is to be sold, the asbestos status can heavily impact its price. A precursor to sale is often a pro rata reduction, proportionate to cost of asbestos removal. The removal process begins with a thorough asbestos survey and concludes with the issue of a certificate of clearance. The HSE set out and enforce the regulatory framework with which asbestos removal must comply. (October 2017)
The Institute may at any time ask to see your CPD status. Where possible I stretch myself. Given the limited requirements of my present role, I have an ongoing program of revisiting career milestones. There’s a long discussion about the value of the system – do we know where the switchback of technology will take us? A glitch in our increasingly interconnected Western Civilisation could render many skillsets completely useless. (Why think thoughts like that? you might ask. The answer goes something like this: the ripple effect – take a motorway full with cars – one rash manoeuvre and the ripples are out of proportion.* Not just motorways but wherever the shock absorbers of our economic system have been abandoned in favour of Just-in-time or Lean or any other principle that minimises working capital. Hand to mouth is precarious when all are moving towards it.
The skills to repair system damage are out there; what about predictive tools? That’s the province of Risk Modelling and, I would hope, other better methods.
* There is another answer: it’s because that is how I think. The administrative and economic infrastructures of nation states are delicate. Up to a point they are self-fixing. Recent times have seen key areas drift beyond UK jurisdiction; secretive, powerful, mega-corporations with no obvious tax-domicile… what if the systems powering them fail?
Collapse of civilisation – yep I use ideas like that in my dystopias; in A Guide to First Contact, Xhenogie Corp gets enmeshed in the US government because it’s dealing with alien bio-tech. Things unravel and go horribly wrong.