Government Accounting Systems: Where Will We Be in 20 Years?

Government accounting systems have evolved drastically over the past few millennia from the abacus to the modern spreadsheet. Technology has put the evolution in hyper drive. In addition, recent advances in business intelligence tools as well as big data and predictive analytics have modernized financial systems to help companies make smarter and better business decisions.

The more information we collect and share, the smarter we become. The same applies to today’s smart technology. How will technology continue to evolve government accounting systems in the next 20 years?

Of Products and Customers, Cabbages and Kings

Product evaluation criteria can utilize these four categories:

1) Fails to make money under any and all measures
2) Does not cover variable costs, but breaks even when future / downstream / derivative / service / after-market revenues are included
3) Covers its variable costs (which already includes standard direct and indirect costs, since he is assigning all costs via ABC)
4) Covers its variable costs and its associated cost of capital

Once you’ve segmented your products (or customers) by profitabiltiy, one of the basic tenants of activity-based management is to take the necessary actions to move the losers into the break-even column, and shift the break-even products into profitable territory. Yet his history showed that, once introduced, products tend to improve their profitability up to a point, then peak and level off there, no matter what actions R&D, manufacturing or marketing may attempt to propel them to the next level.

Prescription? We need to be better disciplined about terminating the losers.

Are Your Human Resource Metrics Relevant?

There are many presentations and discussions about how analytics and “Big Data” can improve decision making—a simple Google search on the terms returns close to 8 million results. Organizations find their workforce analytics especially challenging as human resources (HR) departments attempt to grow beyond creating reports for the sake of reporting. When you think about…

The Health Care Crisis: Something’s Got to Give

OECD data shows the per capita cost of health care in the U.S. at twice the OECD average, with a lower measure of outcome (average life expectancy). I’ve no qualm with health care costs rising as a percentage of GDP; efficiencies in agriculture, mining and manufacturing are going to show up as higher spending levels elsewhere in the economy, with improved health care a clear priority for additional resources for most citizens. But at twice the cost?