Open-Book Accounting

By opening their books to the world, corporations could help to restore trust in the integrity of their operations. Technically, it is simple: just let the robots of Google and the rest crawl deeper into the crevices of the corporation, exposing the accounts themselves to instant scrutiny. Of course, it’s not that simple: there is a considerable security edifice of firewalls and DMZs to negotiate. In a corporation of any size, the switch to open book accounting would involve a vast IT project and an army of consultants – whose expertise, and fees, could certainly be put to a more profitable use, which is much more obviously in the interests of shareholders than transparency; and that is before we have considered the other considerable legal, cultural and commercial obstacles to open-book accounting.

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