Bulletin HASKINS & SELLS 113
Completing the Work
IN discussing the technique of accountancy
practice, the question frequently
arises as to whether it is desirable to finish
the field work, get away from the client's
office as soon as possible, and prepare the
report in our office, or to complete the
report in the office of the client.
The latter method has many advantages
and as a rule no disadvantages, and
has been for many years the well settled
policy of our firm.
The frailties of human nature render it
well nigh impossible to cover, during the
course of the field work, absolutely every
point and anticipate every bit of information,
which may be desired at the time of
writing the report. It is, therefore, desirable
that at such latter time all data and
information shall be easily accessible.
Such accessibility is facilitated when the
report is written in the office of the client
or place where the field work has been performed.
It is not expected, of course, that the
client or his employes will be bothered a
second time for records or information
once supplied unless unavoidable; and the
fact that the report is to be written on the
premises, so to speak, should offer no excuse
for carelessness or dilatory tactics in
obtaining necessary information during
the course of the field work. It does tend
to the production of a more comprehensive
and satisfactory report when the author
is in a position to clear up doubtful points
or supplement the information already
gathered, as he gives thoughtful consideration
to the preparation of the report.
Such procedure is also desirable from a
psychological point of view, as it brings
to the attention of the client most of the
time involved in the execution of the
engagement. Clients sometimes appear
to have the impression that the engagement
consists solely of certain field work.
They do not give consideration to the fact
that the presentation of results is often
of as much if not more importance than
the verification of the figures on their
books and records. They are, therefore,
surprised when the charge against them
includes time not spent in their offices.
For the above reasons, as well as others
which might be mentioned, the firm has
always considered it imperative that all
exhibits, schedules, and comments, including
the verification of all data in the comments,
be completed according to the best
judgment of the accountant in charge
before he leaves the office of the client or
other place where the examination or audit
has been made.