I’ve been talking a lot about ICounting lately but I haven’t talked about ICountants. Since the name is a play on the word Accountant, it’s helpful to talk about ICountants in comparison with our financial friends.
Accountants are trained professionals with a broad variety specialties. Some are CPA’s, others management accountants, controllers, bookkeepers, auditors and many other specialties. Accounting is their primary job. All accountants work inside a standard framework of accounting standards and practices to measure financial results.
ICountants are also trained. But they come from an even broader variety of specialties. Our first ICountants include management consultants, risk specialists, valuators, transfer pricing experts and innovation consultants. (And by the way, these ICountants hail from five different continents!) Eventually, I expect that we will have ICountants from all four categories of intangible capital: (human, relationship, structural and strategic).
ICounting is not the primary job of ICountants (and will probably never be). They are focused on the creation of value and financial results, not just the measurement of those results. But they, like their clients, need a perspective that connects the dots between all the different elements of intangible capital. Today, ICountants are external consultants. Eventually, I see there being both internal and external ICountants playing different roles.
ICounting is skills set not a rules set. I foresee a time when all businesspeople have an understanding of ICounting because it will help them better understand what is going on in their organizations. They’ll use the skills to better manage and measure the value they create for customers and stakeholders.
Will Accountants ever become ICountants too? Some day, yes. In fact, accounting systems actually have enormous amounts of information about the intangibles measured in ICounting. Some day, we hope to get that info into the ICounting stream. For now, though, if you want to understand your intangibles, talk to an ICountant.