Cost accounting used to be a bottom up function-- piecework. The only reason it stopped is because we didn't have the technology to count that fast. Now we do. But people now have masters' degrees in doing it top down. The best strategy is to get into the CEO and get them to help you work with the CIO-- who is losing power because they don't have any way to show what they did with all that money in the 1990s... Yes, automation can work with the CIO.