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

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14–13. Create General Ledger Drill-Down Capability

A common problem for the general ledger accountant is the relative degree of effort required to extract information from the general ledger. For example, if someone makes an inquiry regarding the exact nature of the expenses recorded in the office supplies expense account, the accountant reviews the information listed in the general ledger, which probably shows no more than the total amount of accounts payable posted on a given day attributable to the office supplies account, then goes to the accounts payable register to obtain information about the exact invoices that were charged to office supplies, and then pulls the invoices from the filing cabinet in which they reside—all this to answer the simple request, “Give me the detail for the office supplies account.” Given the number of steps involved, it is obvious that a number of information requests of this kind (which are especially common right after the financial statements are distributed) can completely overload the general ledger accountant.

Installing a drill-down capability in the general ledger software is the best way to surmount this problem. The drill-down system allows one to position the cursor on the field on the computer screen for which the user wants to find additional information; the user then presses a button, and the next most detailed level of information appears on the screen. There may be several levels of information to be accessed in this manner, allowing ...

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