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info@npaccountants.org

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  • Improve Senior Management Oversight, Control, and Planning
  • Improve Board Governance Process
  • Improve Financial Statement Reporting
  • Improve Budget Process
  • Streamline Accounting Processes
  • Improve Accounting Policies, Procedures, and Controls
  • Improve Efficient Monthly Closing Procedures
  • Prepare Policies and Procedures Manuals
  • Assist In Audit Preparation
  • Remediate Audit Deficiencies
  • Accounting System Conversion
  • Simplify Grant Accounting Procedures
  • Endowment Accounting Procedures

Three Problems You May Not Know You Have

jmc portraitby John Cohenjmc portrait

At least four of our clients this winter and spring exhibited some common and costly mistakes which well-meaning – and otherwise competent – organizations make. Unfortunately, the costs generally don’t reveal themselves until “the horse is out of the barn”.

Also note that these problems occurred even though our clients had on-site IT management. Remember, the IT manager is generally responsible for keeping the infrastructure running, but generally has no responsibility (or knowledge) of individual programs.

1. Accounting software maintenance procedures not performed regularly. One of our biggest clients was great at updating to new versions promptly but had not performed specific maintenance in the accounting software package in five years. In the accounts payable module alone, this led to over 2000 unclosed purchase orders, hundreds of duplicated vendors, and other problems which not only slowed the IT processing time, but created constant confusion among accounting personnel. It also could have masked fraudulent transactions had they occurred.

2. “Roles and Responsibilities” within the accounting software not reviewed annually. One of our clients had clearly set up the general accounting roles in the department with “separation of duties” in mind, but over time, permissions within the software had evolved (or devolved) to the point where every member of the accounting staff had permission to access and input transactions in every module. One of our clients had a massive fraud only made easier to perpetrate by a lack of discipline in the software permissions.

3. Excel sheets continue to be relied on rather than integrating software programs or implementing new modules. Excel is wonderful, but too many organizations are still “over-using” it, rather than take the bold step forward of installing new modules or integrating other programs with the accounting software. Remember that Excel is no substitute for accounting software, that it can absorb immense amounts of time, and is alarmingly prone to human error.

NPA Consultants are specialists in Policies, Procedures, Internal Controls and Financial Reporting.  We help accounting departments run “better, faster, cheaper,” and Boards of Directors/senior managements insure that they are performing their fiduciary duties at the highest possible level.  We are happy to answer any questions.  Contact us at info@NPAccountants.org or 617 694 4600.

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