Presentation for CPA PNG

My presentation slides from the CPA PNG conference, as promised in my previous post, have now been loaded up here on my blog (they’re available in PDF). Also the text of the speech is available here as a PDF as well (although it does lack my impromptu embellishments).

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to see an emerging profession in PNG, and it gives a bit of encouragement sitting back here in Brisbane where security guards are few and far between and it’s reasonably likely that water and power supplies will be kept going indefinitely. The members of the profession there have a big challenge but with people like Chris, Lucy, Lia and Leeanne (? unfortunately they’re the only names I recall, the Pondo Tavern was very dark and smoky and a few non-accounting sherbets may have been involved ?) the profession does have a bright beacon there.

And a big thank-you to CPA Australia & CPA PNG for the opportunity to present, and maybe one day I’ll get the opportunity again.

Posting on the Internet – a User Story

Just in case you have ever thought about it (or never have), in cyberspace everyone sees what you type, eventually. The other day I quickly subscribed to a newsgroup about Mercedes Benz classic cars (I was doing some car research – even IT people can like cars – but I suspect I’ll never get to own the car). About a week later, casually typing my name into Yahoo (as you do) suddenly brought up my membership of this group. I do this occasionally because the spelling of “Micheal” is unique and therefore actually returns entires relating just to me, rather than, say, if my name was John Smith – it’s good to know who has your details.

In this instance, I had only signed up very quickly to read about the great and wondrous things that can happen with a Mercedes Benz 450SLC (in case you’re wondering, they come in two categories: (a) expensive; and (b) marriage-threatening). It took about thirty seconds to “subscribe to our site” and now that site has my details cached in Yahoo and it will probably be there for ages yet. I’m just glad it wasn’t a support group for strange and debilitating infectious diseases that you can catch from unsanitary telephones.

But – I should have already learned my lesson, as the same search on Google shows an entry that I’m probably not too happy about! I was on a mailing list some time ago (like, 1996!) and responded to an email (foolishly using my real name). That mailing list diligently archives EVERY email ever sent to it, and accordingly Google has now cached it and it will be there forever now – it’s unlikely I can get it taken down.

As an exercise for the reader, see if you can pick up the page I’m not happy about from the link above.

So – a salient lesson in being careful on the internet.

(Postscript: I had forgotten the “findoz” website that is returned by this search – this is NOT the mailing list to which I was subscribed, I have no idea how my professional profile manages to get mixed up with “hard core DVDs” on the findoz website, and I have a feeling there’s another salient lesson there somewhere!).

Could You Say That Again?

Going back through my old papers, I discovered this (rather more accessible, although it’s still research) version of my thesis on Information Request Ambiguity. A riveting read? Probably not, but it’s a good source for anyone wanting to take a look at the theoretical underpinnings of internal communication and its potential commercial effects.

In case you’re wondering, information request ambiguity is when there is ambiguity in a request for a report to be written by a third party. Information Request Ambiguity is a mouthful, but it’s probably more professional-sounding than calling it the “Are you sure that’s what you want?” factor.

This paper was presented at the International Conference in Information Systems in 2001. We are repeating the experiment and hoping to publish in a first-tier journal “real soon now”. The main rationale for the research was to identify the different types of ambiguity, and what their likely effects are (e.g. accuracy, mistaken reporting, etc).

SME IT Health Checklist

One of the things I do in my “spare” time is chair the Information Technology & Management Centre of Excellence for CPA Australia (since 2002). This has responsibility for looking at over-the-horizon issues in information technology (as they relate to the accounting profession).

One of the interesting articles we published recently (thanks to Shauna Kelly who wrote it, I did review it before publishing although I think my most incisive comment was “I see” and “Great!”) was an IT Health Checklist for SME’s. A good starting point, at the very least – unfortunately you’ll need to be an Australian CPA or know a CPA to get the actual PDF (hey, there must be a CPA around here somewhere)…