With the hundreds of people entering data into the system every day, what are the chances that a day will ever go by when all the data is entered perfectly – without a single mistake?
The reality is, people get tired, careless and are often in a hurry. So, despite the many mechanisms in place in 4castplus to reduce the chances of errors, they still happen; and the need to elegantly deal with errors is an unavoidable certainty. The 4castplus Adjustments module is one of the most widely-used features in the whole system. In this article I’m going to go through the what, why, when and how of putting in adjustments as an auditable way to make financially controlled data corrections.
Before I dive into how to use adjustments, you may be wondering why a formal Adjustments module is needed at all; and what would be the benefits of it. It’s not uncommon for organizations to move into 4castplus from using mostly spreadsheets to manage their day-to-day operations, so formalized adjustments may at first seem like unnecessary extra work. The convenient thing about spreadsheets is that when you need to make a change to something, you just go ahead and change it and that’s that. There’s no formality around it or real record around the change – you change it and it’s done. Quick & dirty. The challenge with that of course, is:
- There’s no auditability around the change. No documented reason, history or reporting available regarding that change.
- There’s no financial control. You may have already closed-out the month of May, for example, and then someone goes and changes a rate or cost-code on an entry that occurred in May. Now your period-reporting is compromised.
- Limited control of who can make these changes. With spreadsheets it’s very difficult to manage permissions around who is entitled to modify the content. You could make a key change, and someone else could change it back, or overwrite your file, and you’d never know.
If you’re a public company, this kind of auditability and control is critical – but even if you’re not, uncontrolled adjustments pose a significant financial risk. More than just giving you better accounting practices and governance around your data, the Adjustments module also provides a number convenience & productivity features that make it easy to find and adjust transactions in bulk.
If you click on the screenshot to the right, you’ll see a quick example of that in the adjustments module. Users can use the convenience filters, date-range and grid-filters for exact refinement of the transactions in need of adjustment. They can then select-all and perform the desired adjustments on an individual or bulk basis.
What Can Be Adjusted?
The most common mistakes that are made when capturing field or office costs are:
- Time/expenses are recorded against the wrong code or activity
- The wrong rate is used
- The quantity is wrong
While these are the most common, the Adjustments module enables a great many other adjustable fields, for example:
- Comments. Internal or external comments
- Work Date
- Vendor and vendor document number
- Rate type – such as overtime, regular, daily, etc.
- Named Resource – the person or equipment that did the work or the material utilized
- The split between cost quantity, billable quantity and pass-thru quantity
- The chargeable resource class. The resource discipline utilized on the transaction
As mentioned above, one or more of these fields can be modified on a group of transactions – all in a single action in an auditable, reportable adjustment document.
For data omissions, users can also use the adjustments module to add in any missing data that was overlooked at the initial time of entry.
It’s often the case that the same mistake was made on transactions that span projects, dates, locations and people. The adjustments module is therefore a global tool where transactions can be brought in from a wide variety of sources.
Who Can Make Adjustments?
As part of the financial controls needed for adjusting entries, 4castplus limits access to the Adjustments module to only those who have the appropriate permissions. The system records who submitted any adjustments, when and why.
There is also a separate permission to enable certain users to make adjustments into closed periods. This would obviously only be used in special cases and require the appropriate amount period financial reporting.