January 16, 2019

Parkinson’s Law of Accounting

Parkinson’s law states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

You guys would know this from work, if you have a 100-hour budget on a job, it will take your team exactly 100 hours to complete (probably 110). Knowing full well of this anomaly, you’ll probably get a budget of 50 hours!

In a personal finance context, Parkinson’s law suggests that, “One’s personal expenses rise with the increase in income.” You’ve probably met clients earning $200,000 a year who are broke. Parkinson’s law is why.

For the computer nerds out there, “Storage requirements will increase to meet storage capacity.” The bigger your hard drive the more space you require (remember 200MB hard drives?) The same can be applied to bandwidth, the content on the internet has increased in line with bandwidth.

So where am I going with all this?

In my last article, I discussed the concept of QoT, the quantification of things and the democratization of business intelligence. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! Parkinson’s law of accounting:

“Management expectations rise as the speed and quality of business metrics improve.”

What does this mean for the accounting profession?

As accounting technology improves, clients will expect more data, that is both timely and accurate, presented in a meaningful manner for no extra cost. The good news is, we’re not going out of business anytime soon but, boy, are times going to change!

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