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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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10–14. Eliminate Reports

Most companies are awash in reports. Typically, someone asks the accounting department to generate a report, which it does—and continues to do for the foreseeable future because no one has told it to stop doing so. The majority of these reports are really only needed once—perhaps to check on the profitability of a specific product line, or the cost of a service, or the usage of some equipment. Even though their usage is limited, the accounting department continues to churn them out and distribute them because the recipients are not aware of the cost of creating them. A further problem is the distribution of the reports. It is common for someone who does not realize the expense of distributing a report to have it sent to everyone in the company who might use it and to many who most certainly do not. Over time, the accumulation of, in many cases, hundreds of reports, and the enormous distribution lists creates a startlingly large filing burden. Not only are these reports stored, in case someone needs them, but they are distributed, and it is the job of the filing staff to do both things.

The solution to the reports problem is to reduce the number of reports as well as the number of recipients, but the method of implementing this best practice is worth some careful consideration. One approach is to simply stop distributing reports and to see who complains. ...

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