# In Black & White

## Freeing Finance & Budget Departments from Drudgery One Article at a Time

### Best Practices for Financial Reporting - Eliminate rounding errors

• Jamie Black
• Excel
• minute(s)Complex reports (Financial statements / Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Budget Book, etc) often present the same value in multiple locations in multiple ways. For example: on page 5 we show total revenue, on page 100 revenue is broken down by type, and on page 200 revenue is broken down by source. The trouble is, the value on page 5 and the total of the break-downs on pages 100 & 200 must all agree. The most common reporting tools (Word & Excel) do not have good methods to confirm and enforce that agreement (see how CaseWare Working Papers solves this problem here). You're left with a manual, error-prone process. The amount of detail provided in even a moderately complex report means rounding errors likely occur hundreds of times. This requires massive time investment during the reporting process to check & double check & triple check as your proceed through the reporting process. This article will explore just one of the common causes of disagreement between these values and suggest best practices to minimize failures of agreement. Different Rounding Approaches Lead to Disagreement As we have examined in our post Best Practices for Financial Reporting with Excel (Step 2), the optimal method for dealing with these 3 different revenue presentations is by linking back to central data source. We will assume you are following this advice. Let's use the following as our central data source (G/L): Approach 1 On page 5, where we just need total revenue we would enter a formula that adds all of the individual account values and rounds the result. Your page total 5 will show total revenue as $804. Approach 2 But what about on page 100 where we present revenue by type? The problem becomes apparent. When we need to present more detail, we round each individual account value and then add up those rounded values. Your page 100 will show total revenue as$801, which does not agree to the total of $804 presented on page 5. In other words the problem is we use different approaches to rounding: Approach 1 adds raw values and rounds the total Approach 2 rounds raw values and then adds them The Solution This problem may seem trivial: "Just link the values together!" For example, the value on page 5 might be a cell reference formula to the total of the revenue by type on page 100. As we discussed in our post Best Practices for Financial Reporting with Excel (Step 2) this causes other problems and only "solves" this problem in one location. It does not address the total on page 200 or any of the other locations that we provide break downs. A better way to address this problem is to attack the foundation of it; always use a single approach to rounding! We must choose one of the two approaches. Given that we must provide detailed disclosures which must be presented rounded to the nearest dollar in many locations we are forced to select the rounding model used in the detailed break-down schedules everywhere. So the recommendation is: If you must present detailed but also rounded disclosures, round all account values in your report and then add them. Thus the value on page 5 becomes$801 which will agree "per-force" with all other presentations.   By following this model you will immediately eliminate all of your "true" rounding issues. In coming articles we will discuss some of the other causes of disagreements.
Many finance departments use spreadsheets where rounding errors are a continual struggle. This article presents best practices to minimize rounding errors.

### In Control: Internal Control - More than Just Segregation of Duties

• Holly Ueland
• In Control
Understanding internal control components is essential for finance officers & is the first step in understanding the benefits Continuous Controls Monitoring CCM

### CaseWare Feature Spotlight: Map Purge

• Darryl Parker
• CaseWare Feature Spotlight
• minute(s)As Certified Consultants and Trainers for CaseWare International, the group at F.H. Black & Company Incorporated gets a chance to talk to Working Papers users from all over the world about how they use the software to do their daily work. Often people don't appreciate the full depth and breadth of the software's abilities and we get the chance to help long-time users get even better at using the software. These "Feature Spotlight" blog posts are designed to: Help those considering CaseWare understand how the solution can transform their reporting processes amd introduce existing users to some of these power features and techniques and help you to become a true "black-belt" masters of the software. One of the features that many people do not know about or are not comfortable using is Mapping Purge.  This blog post will introduce the Map Purge, and its strengths and weaknesses.  What Problem Does Mapping Purge Solve? In short, too many groupings. CaseWare International releases several standard map number typologies in North America: for GAAP and for IFRS.  These map numbers are attempts to provide a comprehensive and standardized way to report all common types of assets, liabilities, equity, revenues, and expenses. However in any one Working Papers file, it is likely that many, many of those map numbers have gone unused.  Just take a look at the Other Revenue map numbers available in the standard GAAP mapping: That's a big long list of $0.00 map numbers for you to constantly scan and consider. Further, every map number represents another value that must be calculated and recalculated by CaseWare. These extra, unnecessary calculations can dramatically slow down your Working Papers file. Wouldn't it better if the unused map numbers were removed from the file, and you only had to review and consider the relevant ones? That is the problem that Map Purge was created to solve for you. How to Create Map Purges First, if you're lucky you already have some map purges defined in your Working Papers file. Writing map purges is something the typical user will do very rarely - once you have a good purge, you can simple use the Copy Components tool in Working Papers to copy it among your files. BEFORE YOU START - A Word of Warning!!! Map purges will delete map numbers out of your Working Papers file, and there is no undo button. You must take a backup prior to running a mapping purge. Even better, take a disposable copy of your file and thoroughly test a purge and verify its effects before running it in your live file. And even then, you should take a backup of that live file in advance of running your thoroughly tested purge! If you don't have the map purge that you need, here's the process to create it: Open your Working Papers file On the Tools Ribbon, click the Options item Select Mapping -> Purge in the left sidebar Click the New button Give your map purge a short name in the "Filter ID" text box Type a description that you could expect your colleagues to read and understand the goal of the purge in the "Description" text box. Decide whether you are writing a filter to delete the map numbers that match your criteria, or keep only the map numbers which match your criteria. Select the appropriate radio button. NOW, here's the hard part: write the filter expression. This is a Boolean dbase filter expression that resolves to "true" or "false". The meaning of the "true" depends on your selection to the radio button in the step above. It will either mean that the map number should be deleted, or it should be retained. Finally, decide what should happen if an Unassignable map number has all of its subsidiary map numbers removed by the purge. Check or uncheck the checkbox based on the appropriate behavior. Click OK. Your map purge is made. Just select it from the list and hit that "Purge Now" button The Weakness of the Map Purge feature The concept of a Map Purge is a powerful one and when it works well for you it can have a dramatic effect on your Working Papers file. The purge pictured above removed more than 500 map numbers from the Samp01 file in about 10 seconds. However, there are some serious limitations to what a dbase filter expression can achieve for you. In particular, you cannot filter your map numbers based on whether or not accounts are assigned to it, only if the accounts have specific balances. Consider: What about a Due To / Due From map number that is expected to balance to$0 for the parent in your consolidation, but will have balances for the subsidiaries? What about map numbers that sometimes have important balances in some interim periods, but get adjusted to $0.00 at the end of the year? The map purge feature cannot help you in these situations; the dbase filter cannot differentiate between the case of a set of accounts which net to$0 or the case of there are no accounts at all.  It cannot help you if there are accounts in the map number in a period or balance type that you hadn't anticipated and included in your filter expression. Look for an upcoming article where we help you resolve this problem with Map Purges and truly clean up your Working Papers file for maximum performance and efficiency. Want to become a CaseWare Master? Click below to see our upcoming training courses.
CaseWare Feature Spotlight: Map Purges reduce file size, improve speed and generally simplify your CaseWare Working Papers file.

### Go Cali Go!

• Jamie Black
• minute(s)We want to share an amazing story of a young woman fulfilling her dream of participating on the Cadet Canadian Wrestling Team.  At only 15 years old, Calista (Cali) Espinosa trained for years and recently won a spot on the national wrestling team, which means she will be travelling the globe to compete and train. She has worked hard to get where she is and is determined to work even harder as a member of the national team. Cali comes from a supportive family of four in Richmond, B.C. and as many sports parents can attest, financial obligations of being on any athletic team, let alone a national team, can be very expensive. At F.H. Black & Company Inc. we recognize the importance of sports for our young people. Participating in sports creates leaders, builds confidence and teaches kids how to be good team players.  F.H. Black & Company Incorprated is matching all donations to the Go Cali Go fund. It’s our way of supporting an amazing young athlete and helping her dreams come true.  To learn more about Cali’s wrestling career and promising future – and to make a donation, visit her website. We hope you will join us in helping Cali celebrate her hard work and pursue her dreams.
We want to share an amazing story of a young woman fulfilling her dream of participating on the Cadet Canadian Wrestling Team.

### 6 Reasons to prioritize Continuing Professional Development in 2016

• Jamie Black
• Continuing Professional Development
Professional development training sessions are perhaps one of the most valuable tools in an employee's tool bag. It's simply a matter of perspective.

### Sunshine Coast Regional District Finds Bright Solution in CaseWare

• Jamie Black
• Success Stories
F.H. Black & Company performed a health check of the Sunshine Coast Regional District CaseWare implementation & optimized their CaseWare usage.

### Budget Book VS. Financial Statements: What's Worse?

• Jamie Black
• Automating Financial Reporting
Budget book automation provides massive value for universities & governments by reducing time investment, eliminating errors & more. Here's why...

### Navigating PSAB: 6 quick steps to improve your knowledge

• Tricia Fraser
• PSAB