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and economic conditions and movements in general have direct and vital bearing on the future of any business—a fact which has been well illustrated during the past year.
A business man succeeds or fails in proportion to his ability to forecast the future of the influences determining conditions in his business. Some of these influences are technical and concern his particular business without affecting others. There are other influences, however, which are of general nature and affect all business to a greater or less degree.
Many progressive executives now keep in touch with the long up and down pulls of general business by means of graphic charts based upon statistics of fundamental conditions and attempt from these pictures of past performance to forecast the future movements of business.
ADVANTAGE OF CONCENTRATION The writer has found that some advantages of having the graphic function condensed or centralized as part of the accounting department, instead of having it scattered over the organization, are the following.
(1) Expert knowledge obtainable. By concentration of the graphic function within the accounting department, it becomes practicable to employ expert assistance in the planning and constructing of a system of graphic charts. Much care and thought are necessary if accurate data are to be prepared in the most effective way. Charts can be made to deceive if put out in a careless manner and destroy the value of otherwise useful information and weaken the confidence of the executive in the "chart idea."
(2) Standardization. Charts may be constructed in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors and the data in different scales and positions. If ten employees should be picked at random in a large organization and instructed to chart independently identical facts, there would undoubtedly result as many different ideas. It is, therefore, essential and most practical to have a central control over the methods of presenting the facts. As a result, all charts that go to the organization speak a universal language, instantaneously recognized and understood by all.
(3) Nearness to accounting records. With the graphic function within the accounting department, the records and data are at all times readily accessible. Not only are time and effort saved, but more accurate interpretation and knowledge of facts are possible.
(4) Duplication of work avoided. Today the successful executive uses and depends on charted facts to such an extent that if information is presented in any other way he will undoubtedly have it prepared in chart form by a member of his department.
(5) Complete story and information in one place. Concentration of the graphic function makes possible the constructing of a complete and continuous picture story of the business. A well-planned system of graphics brings to a focus for the management all the vital facts and essential operations.
On the following page is exhibited a chart of the system of graphic presentation now in use for the factory manager of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Through this system, the factory manager has at all times a vivid pictorial impression-a moving picture of the great organization under his control. A study of the chart will show that only the essential facts are presented.
CONCLUSION A system of charts is elastic and can be simplified or elaborated as much as necessary or altered to fit many requirements. Once an executive becomes accustomed to charts for the purpose of getting the story at a glance and making quick comparisons, he seldom wants to go back to figures.
As the most logical place of a system of graphics is within the accounting department of a business unit, accountants, both public and private, should give serious and careful consideration to the value and place of graphics as a means of presenting facts.
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The Journal of Accountancy
Official Organ of the American Institute of Accountants
A. P. RICHARDSON
Where the Dollar Goes In April and May we published at the head of the editorial pages of this magazine the following statement of the destination of the dollar which is paid in taxes to the United States government:
To pay for To pay for To pay for all other past wars present defense governmental activities 68 cents 20 cents
12 cents The purpose of this reiteration is, we believe, sufficient to relieve us of the charge of tediousness. It is high time that the peoples of the world give careful thought to the failure of governments (our own included) to find some way materially to reduce the waste of life and wealth now incurred through settlements of differences by means of war.
Naturally there is no government in the world which can escape the just accusation of extravagance. The time of the truly economic government has not yet arrived. Men have been dreaming of it from Plato to Wells—and doubtless men will continue to dream of the same Utopia. But to say that there must be extravagance is not to say that there must be such a riot of wastefulness as we have witnessed in this country.
Wars will continue until the Millennium and the cost of them will increase with the development of military science. But we doubt greatly if there will ever be justification for such lavish expenditure as marked our participation in the world war. Certainly there will be a tighter hold on the purse-strings if voters will bear in mind the striking facts which we have repeated in these pages for two months past.
The accountant has a distinct duty in this matter. He is supposed to understand, and if he is worthy the name of accountant he does understand, something of economy; and it is quite within his province to preach the gospel of one-hundred cents' worth for every dollar spent.
It is futile to complain of the lack of economy during a time of storm and stress. The time to economize is not when the house is burning. It should be done before. During 1917 and 1918 costs and values were of necessity Secondary considerations.
It is idle to lament the loss of national wealth, with its resultant debasement of the dollar and encouragement of extravagantly paid idleness posing as labor. All we can do now is to remember the horrible example, put our shoulders under the burden and do our utmost to get things back to normal and bring the dollar to something resembling its traditional value.
Schools of Accountancy Since publishing editorial comment in a recent issue of The JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY on the subject Schools and Schools, we have been almost overwhelmed by inquiries as to the respective merits of various schools.
Some of these inquiries could have been answered without a moment's hesitation, because the organizations mentioned are so notoriously undesirable that it would have been quite a simple matter to say so. There are other inquiries which deal with schools of which we have never heard. There are yet others which offer a blanket inquiry as to what schools are considered desirable. THE JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY must refuse to answer questions of this kind. It may seem ungracious to decline information when the question is asked in good faith and is evidently due to a commendable effort to obtain only the best instruction. But the refusal is unavoidable. If The JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY were to attempt to go into the merits and demerits of every correspondence and resident course of instruction there would be little time left for the staff of the magazine to perform its more important functions.
The best answer that can be given to the general inquiry is a suggestion that the prospective student consider not the merits claimed by the directors of the various schools but the results which have been achieved by persons of their acquaintance who have taken such instruction. In other words we would say to