Some Case Studies in Cooperative Simplification of Accounting Procedures
by FREDDIE C. RYAN Senior Accountant, Houston Office
Presented before the County Auditors Association of Texas, Austin—October 1964
WHAT are your thoughts when you think of simplification in your accounting procedures? Do you think of sophisticated computers? reproduction equipment? more personnel? or merely in terms of carbon paper, streamlined forms, and fewer reports? In any circumstance you may be correct because simplification is a state of mind! Achievement of simplification is by transition from the norm to the new with satisfactory results. The satisfactory results may be recognized and accepted by about everyone or they may be the choice of one person and become accepted by others through use.
The frontiersman needing water drank from available streams. In time he settled near his water supply. Then in order to save steps he invented the bucket. The bucket in time was replaced by pipe and pump. The resulting steps of simplification generally are recognized and accepted by all of us.
However, as an example of one person's simple choice becoming accepted by others through use, I call to your attention the several ways of expressing the term "87 years." The most obvious of course is to just say "87." Other ways are "80 + 7"; "90 - 3"; "100 - 13"; or 8 decades plus 7 years; and infinitely more. As has probably occurred to you, a particular great author used the phrase "four score and seven years ago ..." as his simple choice and this subsequently, I dare say, has gained acceptance from us all.
When dealing with the case studies of simplification of accounting procedures that follow, we are working with the ideas of one person of authority,
the results of which became accepted through use.
The first study deals with the procedure used by a Probate Judge to maintain records relating to administrators' bonds, inventory reports, and annual accountings. The records were maintained by the Probate Judge (who also was the County Judge) and one employee in the County Clerk's office. The records were handwritten and arranged in loose-leaf binders by case number. The number of cases requiring annual attention