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Old 03-17-2017, 04:58 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Technique of the Week: several for Accounting

This thread is part of a series where I intend to invent a lot of Techniques, to fill out the support for non-combat skills. There's more about my plans and objectives here.

Since crime tempts people to get good at something quite specific with the aim of making money, I thought about a False Accounting technique. Not knowing much about this, I asked a GURPS player who's also a partner in an accounting firm, and had to scramble to write it all down.

Modern Accounting has a lot of real-life specialisations which seem to map quite well to Optional Specialisations:

(Auditing): Checking an organisation's accounts to see if they're truthful. This is mostly a matter of checking internal consistency, since checking all of the bookkeeping for a large organisation would be ridiculously expensive.

(Bookkeeping): Keeping track of an organisation's transactions. This produces much of the data for more complex uses of Accounting. This is what accounts clerks or accounting technicians use.

(Financial): Providing accounting information to people outside an organisation, such as shareholders and regulators. Usually required by law, and covers the complete organisation.

(Forensic): Figuring out what actually happened when accounts are incomplete or falsified. Specialists in this aren't necessarily skilled auditors.

(Management): Providing accounting information to managers within an organisation to support decision-making. Often done separately for different parts of an organisation.

(Tax Compliance): Making sure an organisation's operations are paying all the correct taxes. This can be surprisingly complicated.

(Tax Planning): Arranging to pay the minimum amount of tax possible.

Techniques: Unless otherwise specified, all of these are Average, default to the optional specialisation and have a maximum of optional specialisation +4.

<Type of business> (Accounting (Bookkeeping)). This lets you buy up the Bookkeeping specialisation for a particular industry or other kind of organisation.

<Individual business> (Accounting (Management)). This lets you buy up the Management specialisation for an individual organisation.

<Type of business> (Accounting (Financial)). This lets you buy up the Financial specialisation for a particular industry or other kind of organisation.

And finally ...

False Accounting (Accounting, or any optional specialisation of the skill) Average, default Accounting or specialisation, cannot exceed default+4.

Keeping a separate set of false books is the most foolproof way of keeping dubious transactions or embezzling out of accounts, but it's a lot of work and can lead to confusion. This technique improves your ability to disguise transactions within otherwise legitimate accounts, and is rolled in a contest with your auditor's skill. It's a technique because it can be applied to any of the specialisations.

Last edited by johndallman; 03-17-2017 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:48 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Technique of the Week: several for Accounting

Some of those seem more like familiarities than techniques. Admittedly it's a bit tricky distinguishing the two, and it probably takes much more than eight hours to learn accounting for a specialized business. . . .
Bill Stoddard

A human being should know how to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Specialization is for insects.
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Old 03-18-2017, 01:43 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Sacramento metro, California
Default Re: Technique of the Week: several for Accounting

There should probably be a specialization for cost accounting in there. While cost accounting is part of managing a company, there's a big difference between looking at overall reports and running sophisticated analysis of break-even points, profitability projections and cost variances.

One technique for you: channel stuffing. The sales are pushed towards the end of a period, even if not fully completed in actuality, so that it appears the company has strong sales. If done well, and some of those sales process later or are cancelled as an adjusting entry, it may be hard to see that sales were raised to make the company look more profitable.
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Old 03-18-2017, 04:40 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: Technique of the Week: several for Accounting

Another, that used to be valid under the old German rules (pre-1995 or so), is provisions. In year 1 your company makes 3 million, but you write off 2 million of it as "provision for future losses"; in years 2 and 3 you take back that provision. The flash in the pan that's done no business since its first year now looks like a company with three years of stable profits.
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accounting, false accounting, new technique of the week

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