A recent article on WebCPA confused and inspired me:
Accounting firms need to become more intelligent businesses by better leveraging the time and knowledge of their professional staff, according to a survey…
Firms with a formal knowledge management program benefited from its implementation.
Hmm… Intelligence, good. Leveraging knowledge, check. Formal knowledge management program, bingo! Wait a minute, “formal”? Why must it be formal? With all the tools kicking around these days like wikis and blogs, does knowledge management really need to be formal anymore? Was that ever the best way to manage knowledge?
I think it becomes formal, informally. Wikis are self-organizing, and great at managing knowledge bases. Look at Wikipedia — better at organizing the world’s information than Google.
Wikis aren’t great at building community or starting conversations, however. This is where blogs shine. As for knowledge management specifically, blog posts are tagged, categorized, and searchable.
By formal, what they must really mean is traditional, hierarchical, top-down, autocratic systems that mean well but end up stifling the creativity of those they were meant to help. We really don’t need any more of that in accounting firms!
So, firms: Set your knowledge (and knowledge workers) free. If it organizes itself automatically in wiki or blog form, it’s yours forever.