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

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12–16. Continually Review Wait Times

A lengthy financial statement completion process has a number of spots built into it where there are long wait times. For example, the typical company waits five days before it receives a bank statement from the bank for each of its accounts necessary to complete a bank statement. Also, there is usually a wait of a few days while supplier invoices arrive, just to make sure that all expenses have been properly recorded. It is pauses like these that make it nearly impossible to issue financial statements in a rapid manner, no matter how quickly all other tasks are completed. For example, it may be possible to blaze through a bank reconciliation in an hour, but if one is still waiting five days to receive the bank statement, one is focusing on the speed of the wrong activity.

The solution is a continual review of wait times. This focuses attention on those activities a controller should really be attempting to reduce in size or eliminate. To review wait times, the best tool is a Gantt chart. This shows the typical start and stop dates for each closing activity. By closely examining the start dates for each activity and questioning why those dates cannot be accelerated, it brings attention to bear on any activities that are dependent on the prior completion of other activities. However, this is only a tool for pointing out where there are problems; it does not actually resolve them. To use the example from earlier in this section, a Gantt chart ...

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