We all seek forgiveness at some point in our lives. We ask for forgiveness for our trespasses (i.e., sins), forgiveness for forgetting an important anniversary, and forgiveness for making a bad decision that negatively impacts our personal or professional lives. That said, this is not the beginning of a spiritual post about seeking forgiveness from a deity. Rather, this has to do with your business systems, and in particular, your accounting software's ease of forgiving a variety of mistakes.
So, what do we mean by an accounting software package that is "forgiving" when you press the wrong button, or press the right button at the wrong time? Forgiving software is designed to be accommodating when users make input errors or perform unintended actions, allowing them to recover easily and continue using the application without the need for extraordinary workarounds that cause undue angst.
Imagine that you're under the gun to complete a billing cycle and need to get invoices out to your customers when your phone rings and you decide to answer the call. Not to be deterred, you attempt to multitask while having a phone conversation and processing your invoices simultaneously. Then it happens, while still conversing and distracted, you reach the step where you've posted your invoices and realize too late that you inadvertently selected the wrong accounting period for this particular batch of invoices. Realizing this too late, you abruptly finish your phone call and say out loud, "Now what do I do?" If only you were using forgiving accounting software that allowed you to not only undo your mistake, but to smoothly redo the process that went awry.
As developers of SYMPAQ cost accounting software, we adhere to the concept of "defensive coding". This is the practice of anticipating, trapping and testing conditions where common errors and inputs might occur. We also have created a variety of built-in utilities that allow for accounting users to correct common mistakes. In the above invoicing scenario, SYMPAQ provides a simple and efficient way of undoing an honest mistake.
Among the available utilities to fix mistakes are:
- Move Posting Batch
- Clear Timesheet Distribution
- Correct GL Description
- Correct Posted AP Labor
- Correct Leave Balances
- Cancel AP Invoices
- Cancel AR Invoices
- Merge Invoices
- Merge Vendors
- Merge Clients
- Unpost Time Cards
- Unpost AP Invoices
- Unpost Leave
But what about the DCAA perspective? The reason I bring this up is when I told a former DCAA auditor about the ease of correcting mistakes such as fixing a batch of erroneous posted transactions, he felt that auditors would take exception and would rather mandate a system that forces the user to instead create manual journal entries to correct mistakes. When I pressed him as to why this would raise a concern, he had made the assumption that such utilities to correct missteps simply cause the original faux pas to magically disappear without clearly displaying the original state of the data. I assured him that SYMPAQ's Audit Log automatically captures the before and after in great detail, and that the automated corrective actions are time and date stamped. To that end, DCAA has never raised a significant audit issue with SYMPAQ and its audit trail in the decades we have been in this business.
As the saying goes, "To Err is human, to Forgive is divine." When evaluating software for your government contracting business, be sure to add to your list of requirements questions about how the prospective software accommodates forgiveness for your everyday processing errors.