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

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13–10. Switch to On-Line Reporting

In organizations that occupy a large geographical area, the accounting staff faces the chore of somehow sending financial and operational reporting information to many locations. This can mean a mass mailing once a month, or perhaps more frequently if daily or weekly reports are required. If there is some urgency to this information, overnight express mail delivery may be necessary, which is quite expensive, especially when used many times a year for many locations. Faxing this information is frequently not an allowable option, for the information being transmitted may be so sensitive that there is too great a risk that the wrong person will retrieve the information from the fax machine. Thus, sending paper reports throughout a company, and especially a large one, is a major hassle.

An effective means for eliminating the problems with paper-based reports is to switch to electronic transmission. By doing so, there is no need to send any paper documents and there is also no transmission time interval before the information is available to recipients. The only difficulty is that a few of the more formal documents, such as audited financial statements, with their accompanying footnotes and graphics, cannot be sent easily by electronic means, unless they are first scanned into an image file. However, for the bulk of all reports, this remains an effective approach.

Information can be sent electronically in either a passive or “push” mode. In the passive ...

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