Obituary - A J (Fred) Thomas

19 July 2017

Fred ThomasObituary - A J (Fred) Thomas

Long-time BCS member Alfred J Thomas (always known as Fred) died after a short illness, aged 96 years.

Fred was the very first Treasurer of the Auditing by Computer Specialist Group (the forerunner of IRMA) when it became formally linked to the BCS in 1965. He retained the role of Treasurer until 1994 when he was well into his 74th year.

Fred was born on the 9th November 1920 at Mosterton in Dorset, and attended schools in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. On leaving school, his first job was with Pewsey Rural District Council. He also served as a pilot in the RAF during the Second World War in which he flew four-engine aircraft.

He was a member of several professional bodies including the BCS, the Institute of Data Processing, the Institute of Taxation, CIMA and CIPFA.

Fred became aware of the potential of computers in accounting whilst working for Hertfordshire County Council in the 1950s. He then moved to Kingston Technical College (now Kingston University) where he ran one of the earliest computer auditing courses in the UK and taught the initial tranche of British Gas computer auditors. He was also an examiner for the Systems Analysis Examinations Board and the IDPM.

Fred authored several books on computing and its use in the accountancy and audit arenas (see references below), including Audit of Computer Systems (NCC Publications, Manchester, 1981, ISBN 0850122996), which he co-authored with Ian Douglas, who was another early member of the Auditing by Computer Specialist Group. This book, which was probably the earliest in the UK dealing with computer auditing, was subsequently translated into Spanish and was one of his proudest achievements.

On his retirement from Kingston, Fred became a consultant and worked for the National Computer Centre, which included some overseas work in Europe. After his work retirement in 1985 he moved to Great Dunmow where he became Parish Clerk of Little Canfield, thus ending his career as he had begun it, in local government.

A J Thomas - 9 November 1920 to 2 May 2017

BCS wishes to thank John Mitchell FBCS for putting this obituary together.

References

  • Thomas, A.J., ‘The Accountant and Computers’, Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd., London, 1967, no ISBN. (Online this has ISBN 0273417290, for the new impression in 1969)
  • Thomas, A.J., ‘An Introduction to Computers and Computer Systems’, Institute of Data Processing, London, no date, no ISBN. (Online this has ISBN 0902300024.)
  • Thomas, A.J., ‘An Introduction to Computers and Computer Systems’, Second Edition, Institute of Data Processing, London, no date, no ISBN. (Online this edition has ISBN 0902300032, with a publication date of 1976)
  • Thomas, A.J., ‘An Introduction to Computers and Computer Systems’, Second Edition (Reprint), Institute of Data Processing, no place, no date, no ISBN.
  • Thomas, A.J., and Douglas, I.J., ‘Audit of Computer Systems’, NCC Publications, Manchester, 1981, ISBN 0850122996.
  • Thomas, A.J., and Douglas, I.J., ‘Auditoria informática’, Second Edition, Paraninfo, Madrid, 1988, ISBN 8428315272.
  • Thomas, A.J., and Palmer, C.W.R., ‘Machine Accounting For The Seventies’ (Business Administration Series), Morgan-Grampian (Publishers) Ltd., West Wickham, 1970, no ISBN.