Admittedly, I was reluctant to start down this path. I had an offer pending from a multinational oil company in Chicago (where I was an intern the summer before my senior year). And I also had an offer to be an internal auditor with a multinational chemical company in St. Louis. Ultimately, the opportunity to work for a (then) Big Six firm, and to work closer to my family in Maryland and Virginia, was hard to pass up.
Looking back, those professors were right. I treasure the time I spent at Andersen, and maintain close contact with many people I met when I was in that first position. I think it was a great fit for me, as a start to my career.
Back then, working as an auditor was a highly manual endeavor. We did the majority of our work on ledger paper, with heavy usage of pens, pencils, and colored markers on those audit work papers. By the time I left Andersen, we had begun a shift to using computers. At that time, the “portable” computers used in the field were carried in rather large briefcases. And our Baltimore office had a dedicated “computer room,” since most staff did not have computers of their own at the start of their careers.
Fortunately, the audit workplace is dramatically different today, more than 30 years since I started out. Most of the auditing tools that were common then are rarely seen now. Of course, technology changes; few of the many tools that are common today didn’t even exist 10 years ago, much less 30. Given that the age of the accounting profession is measured in centuries rather than decades, it is only logical to say that change has been a constant.
Quite simply, CPAs must always be ready and willing to adapting to a changing technological environment. It is in that spirit that this issue of The CPA Journal focuses on the “Evolving Auditor.” We review and discuss our ever-changing and connected world—and how CPAs and auditors can leverage all this change to their advantage. Yes, the world has changed quite a bit since the days when ledger paper was the norm. Our great Society has guided members through such changes, and transitions even older still. But for our readers of The CPA Journal, we will illustrate some of the new tools and techniques that can lead to success.
Please let me know your thoughts on this issue, especially if you own, manage, or are part of a firm that focuses on audit work. I would appreciate hearing how your firm has evolved.