September 16, 2022

Make No Mistake: Innovation is Not the Same as Technology  

By: Center For Accounting Transformation / podcast

Accounting thought leaders want the world to know that innovation is not the same thing as technology. 

In a recent podcast, “Accountant Showcase,” featuring Donny Shimamoto, CPA, CITP, CGMA, founder and managing director of IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC (ITK), shared with host Chris Rivera that while most people think of innovation as technology, the team at ITK thinks of innovation as changes in business practices, rethinking business processes and digital transformation. 

During the podcast, Rivera, the director of client relations at Entigrity Offshore Staffing, discussed Shimamoto’s upbringing in Hawaii, how he ended up in accounting, and where he saw the future of accounting.  

Growing Up Ohana
Shimamoto said his father and several aunts are educators, but that he comes from a family of engineers. He learned in high school how easy accounting came to him when he took his first accounting course. However, it was a controller at the organization where he was interning the summer before his senior year who persuaded him to pursue his true calling: accounting and technology.  

“He asked, ‘What are you thinking about doing?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m going to major in accounting, but I really love this tech stuff,’” Shimamoto explained. “He said, ‘Well you need to do this double major.’ So, he was the one that got me on that track, which I continued throughout college.” 

He eventually earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and in management information systems at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu.  

The Voyage to ITK
Shimamoto completed two more internships, one in programming and one in technology consulting, and eventually procured a full-time position shortly after graduation.  

“I was what they call the dual track, so I did both financial audit and IT audit,” Shimamoto said. “I did that for about a year and a half and then I got pulled into the consulting side because, again, I was lucky that someone saw the potential of what I could do.” 

One of his most memorable assignments was working for the U.S. Navy. While acting as a consultant for the Department of Defense, he was on a global consulting engagement for the Pacific fleet based out of Pearl Harbor. “We actually had teams out on aircraft carriers,” he said. “I went for a week on the carrier out into the San Diego Gulf and was doing war games…So we got to see planes launching. We heard guns firing. It was pretty cool.” 

From there, Shimamoto worked at a systems integrator in Hawaii, fully embracing his IT background, but not using as much of his accounting skills. “It wasn’t the bigger picture of business strategy or how can we improve the organization as a whole, so, really, within a year, I split and I started my own firm. This year actually makes our 20th year in business.”  

Defining ITK.. And the Future of Accounting
Shimamoto said ITK was originally an IT consulting firm. That soon changed.  

“I quickly realized that the value of what we did was tied back to the CPA. It was the way I always competed,” Shimamoto explained. “I would tell people, ‘I won’t just bring you a system. I’ll bring you a system that is solid and has the right internal controls. Also, you know you can trust me with all this data because my CPA license requires that I uphold this certain level of ethics.’” 

“I say that because that’s the advisory component, which is what everyone in the profession for at least the last 10 years, maybe 15 years, has been like, ‘You need to move into advisory,’ which, that’s the whole of what we do.” 

Rivera asked Shimamoto where he saw the future of accounting going. “We definitely see the acceleration,” Shimamoto said, adding that the benefit of the pandemic was the accelerated adoption of newer technologies, specifically accounting firms. “I think there’s this opening for firms to adopt these technologies, which also helps to alleviate staffing issues we’re seeing,” he said.  

“I do see in the next two to three years this increased adoption of outsourcing, increased adoption of technology and, through that, freeing up the profession’s time to move away from more compliance into this advisory space,” Shimamoto said.  



Want to learn more about harnessing technology? Learn from Tech Guru Donny Shimamoto in the following CPE courses:  

View additional courses to help #EnableTransformation.  


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