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Making sure your quarterly reports are accurate

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When it comes time for quarterly reports, work can get stressful. You have so many things to worry about: having the reports done on time, having accurate reports, and making sure they are organized and neat.

Here are a few ideas that will help you to ensure accuracy in your reports and make that part of your stress just a little less.

  • There should always be a paper trail leading right back to the beginning. Whenever anything takes place that will need to be on the quarterly reports, it should be in writing and put somewhere that is predetermined. If you can't trace it back, finding proof is going to be impossible.
  • Everything should be checked by those that were in charge of it. If more than one person handled it, then it should be gone over by each of them. The more people that can ensure its correctness the more likely it is to be correct.
  • If you include payroll in your quarterly reports, have each employee go over their work history for the quarter. They might not be able to remember that far back, so have them look after each month or even bi-weekly. This will ensure that vacations are done right and that clocking in and out is being done each day.
  • Since each business will have a different quarterly report, make sure that you have it broken down into sections and that the person in charge knows where to find the information they are going to need for the report.
  • Just like any report, there needs to be more than one set of eyes looking over it. This ensures that numbers are not transposed or misread. It also removes any type errors and things that can change the meaning in a report.
  • There are some great computer programs that help with reports, and many of them can automatically put in numbers where they are needed. This leaves a lot less room for error. Finding software to help is something that can save you from errors but it also saves time for the preparer, meaning they can get more done in their day.
  • Having someone that is collecting the information over the course of the quarter, instead of just before the report is due will help eliminate chaos. If the paperwork and information are together beforehand then you will be able to know that you have the right information.
  • Compare quarterly reports. There are many things that can be noticed by comparison. Although things will change from quarter to quarter there are many things that you will see steady change and therefore can see if something has been simply put into the report wrong.
  • Try to avoid vacations around report time. If there are people gone that might hold important information then you might be stuck making a lucky guess. If at all possible have all employees that will be involved there when the quarterly report is being put together.
  • It's okay to keep too many records. If there is information that is repeated twice, keep both of the records. It is much better to be able to prove it twice than to figure that the other record was kept and that this one can be tossed. Duplicates are a good thing.
  • Keep records from a few quarters back. Don't throw away papers right when you turn in the report, have something to yourself up if there are any disputes. Keeping the records for at least a year is not a bad idea, it all comes back to that paper trail that is so important.

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Posted by DF
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