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22 HASKINS & SELLS March Clear Trails ON E of the arguments often advanced in favor of a corporation is that its existence and continuity of operation do not depend on the life of any particular individual. Those who have relations with the corporation may develop preferences as to the representatives through whom they transact business. One individual may be popular; another unpopular. There may be varying degrees of efficiency among employes. One or many employes may sever the connection. But in the background, assuming the responsibility, the corporation must take up its place. So in public accounting the practitioner who establishes relations with clients must carry on regardless of what happens. If his practice is of sufficient size he may need assistants. And he may be able to employ assistants who will help him effectively in his work. Some of these may take more interest in the work and work more intelligently than others. But again, whether their work is good or bad, the responsibility for giving satisfaction to the client rests with the practitioner. The development of business in this country has necessitated an intricate and complicated organization fabric. Big business calls for big organization. Consequently, it has become necessary for some of those who practice public accounting to organize so as to meet the demands of large business enterprises with their many sided interests and widely scattered activities. Public accounting has assumed a position, international as well as national, in its scope. It may, therefore, not seem illogical if one of the principal problems of large organization for accountancy practice is found in the personnel and the working trail which it establishes. Of necessity large in number, shifting rapidly about, traveling hither and yon, turning over and fluctuating in size, the staff of any large firm is a matter of no small importance with which to reckon. Regardless of how careful the selection or conscientious the training, there is always much left to be desired. On the other hand, even given the spirit and the will, it is never possible for the members of the staff to attain that degree of perfection and smoothness which would make them interchangeable like the parts of a machine. The intelligent thought which accountancy demands of its practitioners, irrespective of grade or rank, forbids that this should be so. But there is offered in the form of working papers a means whereby the substitution, replacements, or shifting of staff may be effected with a minimum amount of friction or lost motion, requests of clients for assignment of certain men may often be met, questions of clients answered and involved situations explained. Not long since the staff requirements of a newly opened practice office made necessary the transfer of a certain man. An important client expressed great regret at this because the accountant was well into one of his engagements which, although at the time suspended, was to be completed at a later date. The client was somewhat placated when shown the working papers left behind by the accountant in question and assured that an equally competent man would pick up the threads and carry the engagement on to completion with no loss of time. And such later proved to be the case to the eminent satisfaction of the client. The extent to which matters of this and the other kinds mentioned become possible depends on the appropriateness, clearness, and completeness of the papers.
Accounting as a profession
Haskins & Sells Bulletin, Vol. 06, no. 03 (1923 March), p. 22-23
|Source||Originally published by: Haskins & Sells|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi Libraries. Accounting Collection|
|Identifier||HS Bulletin 6-p22|