Do you involve cross-checks in your procedures?

Last updated by Brook Jeynes [SSW] 5 months ago.See history

“Co-pilot” rule

There is an SSW Rule called Do you use 'Checked by xxx'?, which encourages people to check each other’s works for better quality. When it comes to accounting, there is something more important than a 'Checked By'.

Accounting data is highly aggregated and there is only one source of truth. When the team is working together to contribute to the accounting system, it is more important to make sure that any changes are well informed within the team and the data contributed is accurate and free from errors.

Systems generate bugs, and humans can make mistakes. An error-free system does not exist. When accountants work together, it sometimes feels like two pilots operating the same plane. The captain and co-pilot keep notifying and monitoring each other’s activities.

building github copilot app nocdn
Figure: Captain and the co-pilot work closely and information are well informed and monitored between each other

A small error can cause fatal crash, that is why every major and essential system will have one or more backup systems in case the primary system fails. A small error may not bring the business down, however it is important for accountants to have cross-checks to minimize human error during their daily work. When two people independently verify each other's work, it reduces the chance of errors. Cross-checking also promotes accountability and a sense of shared responsibility for the quality of the work being performed.

Avoid conflict of interests

A football player should not take on the role of the referee. The issue here is not with trust, but rather with ensuring that you have good systems that minimize risks.

When an accountant applies for a leave request, a reimbursement, a salary sacrifice or has a pay rise (congratulations), the best option is always to have another accountant make those changes. The best practice always involves at least 2 individuals – 1 person requesting the change and a 2nd person processing the change.

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