Financial Analysts are Only Human

Accounting Mistakes - Complete Controller

Have you ever heard the saying “to err is human”? It reminds us that everyone makes mistakes, even financial analysts. Yes, you heard that right; even those with a keen eye for numbers and a knack for finding discrepancies can make accounting errors. Don’t worry, though; in this article, we’ll discuss common accounting errors and how to avoid them so that you can keep your financial statements error-free.Complete Controller. America’s Bookkeeping Experts

Data Entry Mistakes

Firstly, let’s talk about one of the most common accounting errors – data entry mistakes. It’s easy to make a typo when entering numbers into spreadsheets, accounting software, or paper. This type of mistake can cause a ripple effect throughout your financial statements, leading to incorrect calculations and inaccurate reports. To avoid this, double-check your work, use a calculator if necessary, and have someone else review your work before finalizing anything.


Another common mistake is incorrect expense classification. It’s important to know what types of expenses fall under different categories, such as operating expenses, cost of goods sold, or capital expenditures. Misclassifying expenses can lead to incorrect financial statements and can also have tax implications. To avoid this, ensure you understand the different categories of costs and have a transparent system for categorizing them correctly.

Similarly, incorrect revenue recognition is another standard accounting error. Revenue should be recognized when earned, not when payment is received. For example, suppose you sell a product or service that will be delivered over time. In that case, you should recognize revenue over the service or product delivery duration, only some at a time. To avoid this mistake, make sure you have a clear understanding of your revenue recognition policy and follow it consistently.Cubicle to Cloud virtual business

Accounting Oops: Lessons Learned

Now, let’s talk about a few lighthearted examples of accounting errors that have made headlines. In 2012, JPMorgan Chase reported a $2 billion trading loss due to a “London Whale” trader who had made risky trades unnoticed by senior management. This situation highlights the importance of having strong internal controls and oversight to catch errors before they become significant financial losses.

The 2017 Academy Awards made a memorable mistake when “La La Land” was initially announced as the Best Picture winner instead of the actual winner, “Moonlight.” This error was caused by the incorrect data entered into the envelope containing the winner’s name. This incident highlights the importance of meticulous attention to detail and the potential repercussions that even seemingly insignificant mistakes can have. While not directly related to accounting, it is a powerful reminder of the significance of precision in all aspects of life.

So, how can you avoid making accounting errors? Here are a few tips:

1. Double-check your work: This may seem obvious, but it’s essential. Take a few extra minutes to review your work and make sure all numbers and classifications are correct.

2. Use accounting software: Accounting software can help you catch errors and automate many processes, reducing the risk of human error.

3. Have a system for checks and balances: Ensure that multiple people review critical financial statements and reports to catch any errors that may have been missed.

4. Stay up-to-date on accounting standards: Accounting standards change frequently, and it’s essential to stay current on any updates that may impact your financial reporting.

5. Seek help when needed: Be bold and ask for help from colleagues, a mentor, or your accounting department if you need clarification.

LastPass – Family or Org Password VaultIn Conclusion

Accounting errors can happen to anyone, even financial analysts. But with extra attention to detail and following best practices, you can avoid making these mistakes and keep your financial statements error-free. Remember, it’s better to take a few extra minutes to double-check your work than to face the consequences of an error later on.

CorpNet. Start A New Business NowAbout Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud platform where their QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools are hosted in an efficient SSO environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.Complete Controller. America’s Bookkeeping Experts