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Accounting best practices, Third edition

This book is compiled from the author’s lengthy experience in setting up and operating a number of accounting departments, as well as by providing consulting services to other companies. Accordingly, it contains a blend of best practices from a wide variety of accounting environments, ranging from very small partnerships to multibillion-dollar corporations. This means that not all of the best practices described within these pages will be useful in every situation, some are designed to provide quick and inexpensive, incremental improvements to an operation that can be installed in a day, while others are groundbreaking events that require six-figure investments (or more) and months of installation time.

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Some will only work for companies of a certain size, and should be discarded as more expensive and comprehensive accounting systems are installed—it all depends on the situation. Consequently, each chapter includes a table that notes the ease, duration, and cost of implementation for every best practice within it. The best practices are also noted in summary form in Appendix A.

This third edition of Best Practices contains 60 new best practices. These are  concentrated in the areas of internal auditing, accounts payable, finance, and payroll. Some of the best practices involve solutions that have been posted on various Internet sites, but there are fewer of these best practices than appeared in the second edition. Indeed, a great many Internet sites listed in the second edition have closed down, requiring the author to remove three best practices that had been
listed in that book. The area of application service providers has been especially hard hit, with about two-thirds of the providers listed in the second edition having shut their doors in the past two years.

Chapter 15 is new, containing 19 best practices for the internal auditing function.
Though this area sometimes falls outside of the accounting function by reporting directly to the auditing committee of the board of directors, it more commonly reports to the chief financial officer, and therefore a discussion of improvements to it appears relevant for this book.