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

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12–9. Defer Routine Work

An accounting department is usually overwhelmed by its ongoing volume of work, without the extra crushing load of creating and distributing the periodic financial statements. Many of these tasks, such as payments to suppliers, invoicing to customers, daily or weekly reports to management, or the processing of cash, are vital ones, and cannot be delayed for long. As a result, the accounting staff is accustomed to working long overtime hours during the first week of each month, not to mention a blackout on vacation time during this period. Also, the following week is sometimes a frenzied one as well, since the accounting department must catch up on the necessary work it did not have a chance to complete in the previous week. In short, producing the financial statements is a hard lump for the accounting department to swallow.

The solution is to carefully review the tasks currently scheduled for completion during the first week of the month and see if there are ways to eliminate them or shift them into a later week. For example, management may be accustomed to receiving a daily report of sales and cash receipts; it may be possible to completely eliminate this report for a few days during the beginning of the month so that the workload is completely eliminated, rather than being shifted into the next week. Completely avoiding work is always the best option, but for some tasks, there is no alternative to shifting it forward a few days. Examples of this kind are ...

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