Office Systems and Procedures
by E. WILLIAM SEVETSON Consultant, Management Advisory Services, Chicago Office
Presented before LeTourneau-Westinghouse Company Distributors'
Financial Representatives, Peoria, Illinois—November 1965
IN ORDER to place the subject of Office Systems and Procedures in proper perspective, it is desirable first to spend a few moments defining
the term. Dropping the "Office" modifying word, Systems and Procedures
might be broadly defined as the corporate policies, procedures, forms, and equipment necessary to conduct a business. It would be a mistake to limit this discussion to the office per se, since we should be concerned with all paper work and paper-work processing wherever it exists throughout the organization.
Thus, we are talking about all the various activities that include paper work and the carrying out of management policies. They include time reporting and payroll, inventory control, budgeting and cost accounting,
order entry and invoicing, accounts receivable and payable, purchasing and receiving, and management control reporting. The approach
to these activities that follows is directed to the small and medium-sized office with 10 to 15 clerical employees, since this is the type of operation of most interest to your group.
Why is this subject on the program today? First, the number of persons engaged in handling paper work is constantly increasing and the cost of performing this work therefore represents a larger and larger share of the cost of doing business. In order to stay competitive, these costs need to be reviewed and controlled. Second, also because of competition,
more information—timely and valid—is necessary for effective decision-making—a requirement also arising from competitive considerations.
Thus, for businessmen such as yourselves a first duty is to make a periodic self-appraisal of the systems and procedures in force in your operations.
How can these objectives be accomplished in your particular operation?
How should you proceed to make a review of your present operations? These are the questions I shall try to answer in the course of the discussion.
The basic systems and procedures tools are (1) forms design and control and (2) written policies and procedures.
FORMS DESIGN AND CONTROL
Any systems effort starts with the design and use of proper forms. To ensure that each form is readily understandable, contains the right