Current and Recurrent Problems of Accounting and Auditing
by CLAYTON L. BULLOCK Partner, Executive Office
Presented before the Accounting and Management Session of the Northwest Electric Light and Power Association, Spokane—May 1963
ONE OF THE greatest problems in business today is the constant recurrence of non-recurring problems. The one unchanging rule we can rely on is that changes are normal. Accountants and auditors today must face problems of both constant change and erratic change. The very growth of the American economy provides the problems of constant change. Government and its agencies provide an ample supply of non-recurring problems. It's a real challenge to all of us to try to stay abreast of all these changes.
This afternoon I should like to discuss two areas: some of the general problems of keeping up with the flow of transactions, and some of the special problems that have been thrust on us. In the area of constant change, cooperation is essential if we are to resolve efficiently the problems of processing an ever-growing volume of transactions. In the area of erratic change, we must meet together, continually, the problems of dealing with the effects on accounting of the actions of governmental agencies both in regulation and in taxation. The non-recurring problems occasioned by government action are the most exciting, but the more prosaic problems of industry
growth are in fact just as important.
As the American economy grows, its size and complexity increase.
The growth in the utility industry—your industry—has been nothing short of phenomenal. Whether measured in terms of total assets, plant, revenues, or kilowatt-hour output, its size has more than doubled in the last ten years, and its growth is continuing. This growth has been largely within companies, rather than through increase in the number of companies (in fact, the number of companies
has decreased). The problems of accounting for the increasing volume of transactions are of major importance.
If the growth in size and complexity were the only problems facing us, the job would be big enough. However, growth alone is not the only problem, for we must also deal with government—constantly
increasing government. Regulatory authorities adopt new charts of accounts, and amend them almost before the ink is dry.