Counting the beat


With numbers, leverage matters more than materiality.
‘Data-driven decision making’ is only better if you collect and merge the right kinds of data.
Sometimes you need a stand-alone crystal ball, not a fully-integrated computer system.
Absolute value changes and percentage changes; like heads and tails on a coin. You need both to get the full value.
The plural of anecdote isn’t data.
Accountants count the cost, when strategists fail to differentiate themselves.
Behind most good text and noble speeches are great numbers.


2D and 3D Worlds

In a 3D World, it’s interesting just how many jobs involve 2 modes or 2 statuses only.
How would the World operate if many of us were forced to act, by considering a hybrid state, or a time dimension as well?

Computer programmers code for a binary World, and for Windows or Mac. The obvious hybrid state is open source.

Product designers recognise right or left-handed people, male or female, real or virtual, real or imitation, outdoor or indoor, interior or exterior, toxic or non toxic. Time is an exciting third dimension to encourage flexibility into the design.

Management consultants love framing problems using 2D matrixes. Their business problems typically consider; merge or acquire, debt or equity, make or buy, outsource or insource, labour-intensive or automated, cost or quality. Most matrixes would likely yield different insights by adding a time, or hybrid dimension to them.

Graphic designers love their 2D reference grids & think black & white or colour, pixels or vectors, rush job or non rush job . Their creativity is enhanced by adding any additional dimension.

Snowboard instructors teach rookies who are goofies or naturals, on-piste or off-piste, on snow that is real or artificially-created.

Accountants journal in a double entry World. They also consider; cost and price, cash or credit. Rate of change is an exciting third dimension to consider in their reporting.

Court environments have prosecution and defence, innocent or guilty. expert witness or non expert witness, custodial sentence or non custodial. Would we have greater justice by considering a hybrid state or time dimension as well? To be fair, mitigating circumstances and suspended sentences respectively, are examples of this already.

Economists divide into macro and micro. Would we have more useful economics by considering an irrational behaviour dynamic, or adding the time dimension as well?

The Military recognises friend and foe, military or civilian. Hybrids include those people who can be won over as future supporters –change the tactics to consider the hybrid status of some people encountered in the field.

Bankers match borrowers and lenders. They also consider costs and prices. Time and/or changing risk is an exciting third state to encourage flexibility into the design.

Traders match buy and sell, act or delay. Time or changing risk is an exciting third state to encourage flexibility into the design.

Food for thought?

Accounting for life

Financial accountants – been counters who smoke numbers without inhaling.   Sometimes known to let their credit card balance their partner’s debit card.

Auditors – martial artists in tick boxing.

As the pace of innovation speeds up, how long before all assets on the Balance Sheet simply become Current Assets?

As business change speeds up and the ride gets more bumpy, will the emphasis in Accountancy shift from gas tank and mileage measurement, to speed and rev counter measurement?

Spreadsheets – the pigeon-holer’s tool of choice. Containing cells without life, yet able to quickly mutate beyond recognition.

If spreadsheets contain the cells, VBA is the DNA and circular references, the cancer.

Numbers are like diamonds – their substance can generally be verified. However, like for diamonds, if you want the best result, look at their substance from all angles.

The danger of pie charts is in making us feel hungry and limiting our thinking to one pie.

CA firms; Collective Amnesia clean-up crew?

Lawyers and financiers clean up what economists and regulators fail to forecast.

To an accountant, typos in text feel like scars, acne and bruised skin. Typos in numbers, arthritis, osteoporosis & leukemia.

Budgets – forecast, flexible and fractious. Actuals – firm, fixed and final.

How much use is a KPI when your strategy keeps evolving?

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