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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/154

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Letters From A Railway Official.

deal with things, and above all with men. Audit is extremely important, but not all-important. Audit is a component part of a larger activity, inspection. The word inspection on railways is unfortunately and improperly associated with the thought of secret service and underhanded spotting. True inspection is as open as the day and as welcome as the evening. The earlier station agents resented the creation of the traveling auditor as a reflection upon their integrity. The station agent of today—and as a class what splendid, honest men they are!—welcomes the traveling auditor, because his visit means a clearance. The public accountant had a long fight for recognition of his legitimate function, first in England and later in this country. Today he is established and is desired by the general accounting officers of railway corporations.

Following the public accountant comes the efficiency engineer. While one inspects conditions, the other audits accounts. By an easy process of evolution the two positions sooner or later merge into one. The volume of business may warrant segregation, however, into component activities. Sooner or later the final