Re: Accounting language to plain language - translation, please?

Subject: Re: Accounting language to plain language - translation, please?
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 18:30:27 -0700

I would leave it alone for the most part, except for the abbreviation, LLR, which I would place at the first mention of loan loss reserve and increases "are accompanied" not "is accompanied." There are inconsistencies with LLR, "contra account," and "contra-asset account" that need to be corrected. Is the LLR a contra account or a contra-asset account? Are contra accounts and contra-asset accounts different? If they are the same, then they need to be referred to in the same way, which is LLR after LLR is defined and the differences between the contra and contra-asset accounts may need to be defined, since "contra-asset" seems to come out of nowhere.

The passage is otherwise a well-written explanation of the LLR as a contra-asset account. Since it is a part of loan policies and procedures, you need to leave the accounting-speak in it because those terms have weight that would be lost with a softening to plain language or "a more democratic narrative," although I may not know what you mean by that. There is nothing "democratic" about a policy or formal procedure.

What I would do follows.

"On <my non-profit's> balance sheet the loan loss reserve (âLLRâ) is a contra account to the Loans Outstanding asset that is equal to or greater than the aggregate of the LLR assigned to each loan in the portfolio. Increases to the contra-asset account are accompanied with a Loan Loss Expense (or Provision for Loan Losses) entry on the income statement."

Now if I got it wrong, then you have something to tell your consultant.



On 7/11/2012 3:21 PM, elizabeth -dot- sprague -at- maine -dot- rr -dot- com wrote:

At a small non-profit with whom I work, I'm involved in a project to re-write our loan policies and procedures. One intention for this project is to provide language through the document that's accessible for all staff the first time they read it. (What a concept, right?)

The accounting consultant who generated the text in question asserts that the text is sufficient as is. I hold another view and, advocating for a more democratic narrative, I've indicated that I'd attempt a re-write to plain language and offer that re-write for review.

Here's the original text:

"On <my non-profit's> balance sheet the loan loss reserve is a contra account to the Loans Outstanding asset that is equal to or greater than the aggregate of the loan loss reserve (âLLRâ) assigned to each loan in the portfolio. Increases to the contra-asset account is accompanied with a Loan Loss Expense (or Provision for Loan Losses) entry on the income statement."

How would you translate into plain language?



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Accounting language to plain language - translation, please?: From: elizabeth.sprague

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