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Date: 2019-03-23 Page is: DBtxt001.php L0300-About-TPB-Library


About PETER BURGESS
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An Audit Approach to Computers
This book was published by the ICAEW in 1964 by Anthony Pinkney who was the Partner-in-Charge at Cooper Brothers & Co for the audit of EMI (Electrical and Mechanical Industries Ltd.). EMI was a cutting edge technology company ... they developed radar during WWII ... and were exploring computer development. They built a computer and deployed it to do the accounting for their subsidiary EMI Records. I was part of the audit team to audit these accounts. The team leader for this part of the work was Brian Jenkins, a recently qualified 'senior' At that time I was a third year 'articled clerk' soon to take my final examinations. Because I had an engineering background, I was assigned to check the logic of the computer to make sure it was adding and subtracting correctly and not doing anything else. The idea of an algorithm was still many years away! One of the challenges with this audit was the lack of any audit trails ... the computer merely updated the data without leaving any trail. This turned out to be an issue because at the year end (September 30th) the company had an inventory of around a million Beetle albums that were about to be released (October 1st) and by the time of the audit (around September 10th) there were no albums in stock and not a single transaction record to show how this had happened!

Subsequently this book was republished by Brian Jenkins in 19?? with very little change. Brian Jenkins went on to become a Partner at Coopers and Lybrand and President of the ICAEW. He also became the Lord Mayor of London.

Brian was a team player. I remember him lecturing our audit team at EMI one Monday morning when some of us arrived late after a particularly active sporting weekend ... many of us were fairly good rugby players ... the gist of which was that we should turn up on time no matter what, because we can cover for you if you are not functioning very well, but we can't help you at all if you are not present.

Many years later, I was doing an assignment in Madagascar and attending a public open air TV event ... a soccer match ... when the program was interrupted and the Lord Mayor, Brian Jenkins came on (breaking news) to talk about the IRA bombing of the Commercial Union insurance company in London. What he said sounded exactly like the lecture he used to give us for being late, except this time it was talking about the silliness of the IRA in bombing a building in London pointing out that Hitler's Luftwaffe had bombed for 5 years in WWII and not succeeded, so the IRA should not bother to try to intimidate Londoners with their silliness.



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