Social Innovation – An Accountant’s Perspective

Social Innovation is about changing systems at their root, about looking at how things are done and making them better, not just for customers, but for everyone. Yet even the most socially conscious system needs financial accountability. My goal is to build accounting software and procedures into Social Innovation projects in their infancy, when they most need the support.

Innovators don’t often have experience with administration or accountability.  They have to focus on the development, engineering and deployment of their innovation.  Who has time to do paperwork?  Yet, it’s the paperwork, tracking test results, managing projects, filing government forms, reporting to funders and securing financing that keep the project going.

You don’t have to go far to see problems that need innovation.  In my city, Toronto, there is a housing crisis and crumbling infrastructure.   There isn’t enough public transit.  There is both a lack of skilled workers and unacceptably high unemployment.  There is all kinds of room to implement bright ideas, in engineering, planning and legislation, to name a few.

As an accountant, it’s exciting to get involved with something new, to face the challenges of imposing financial discipline, without killing the innovation, to develop new processes that help both the innovator and the investor.  I’m a bean counter and sometimes I have to redefine the beans as well as count them.  That’s why I call what I do, “Energized Accounting.”

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