When Can You Eliminate Controls? Joanna A. van der Vant Explains


Joanna A. van der Vant is a respected accountant and member of American Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (AICB), as well as a member of the Commercial Real Estate Executive Women (CREW) and a member of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society.
Currently, Joanna A. van der Vant is studying at the Keller Graduate School of Management, where she is completing her Master in Accounting and Finance Management degree. She is also in the process of obtaining full accreditation as the Certified Public Accountant. Joanna A. van der Vant is expected to become a CPA in 2013. She already holds an MBA from the Leon Kozminski Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management in Poland.

Joanna A. van der Vant has a decades-long career in real estate and accounting. Currently, pursuing her CPA and Master of Accounting in Financial Management, Joanna A. van der Vant serves as accountant for Sol Property Management in Chicago. Joanna A. van der Vant has helped companies understand the importance of having control systems in place to prevent financial loss due to errors, fraud, and theft and answers questions today about the best time to remove those controls.

Q: Why would a company take control systems away?

Joanna A. van der Vant: By removing a control system whose time has come, a company can save money in extra clerical costs. A company may remove control systems to help streamline accounting processes.

Q: Is there a way to map it out to determine if removing a control is the right move?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Flowcharts can be invaluable. I recommend a CFO map out the entire process, listing out all controls, in order to determine if removing one control might affect one of the others or create a breakdown in processes.

Q: You advise estimating the cost of controls to calculate the money savings. What should be included in this calculation?

Joanna A. van der Vant: It’s fairly complex because the accounting team will not only need to calculate the savings on personnel and materials, but also the cost savings associated with removing the control from a process where it might be creating a bottleneck.

Q: What if the control point only exists to back up another control point?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Each control in the process will need to be evaluated separately to determine how critical it is.

Q: So when a process is not found to be critical and has a significant cost, it might be time to remove it?

Joanna A. van der Vant: This is, of course, a judgment call, but even if a control point has a high cost but is extremely critical, it’s unlikely a business would want to remove it.

Q: What if I decide to remove a control?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Even if it’s patently clear a control needs to be eliminated, a CFO should still notify everyone impacted by that control, just to make sure removing it won’t harm another part of their process.

Q: Should control systems be regularly reviewed?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Generally if there are major changes to a process flow, it’s best to review control systems to make sure they’ve not been rendered redundant.

Q: How often should we review our control systems?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Time intervals will vary by industry, so it’s important to come up with a schedule that works for your facility.

Joanna A. van der Vant is a certified bookkeeper that has worked in Warsaw, Poland and Chicago, Illinois. A licensed broker, Joanna A. van der Vant has an MBA from the Leon Kozminski Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management.

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