No Accounting for Accounting Nos?
A backwards trend
Here is another in our fascinating series of posers for research accountants. Investigator J. Snyder writes:
While perusing the latest version of our department budget and year-end estimates, I noticed that subtracting the first account number on each page from the last account number on that page, the result is always greater than zero! This result holds regardless of the dollar amounts assigned to those accounts, and it applies to similarly placed account numbers on successive pages.
We have been running regressions and tests for dispersion, elasticity, viscosity, and heteroscedascity on the results, but so far we have been unable to detect any reason for this anomalous phenomenon. If the result proves robust and applicable across departments and perhaps even across other organizations, we could use a reordering algorithm taking advantage of it.
When asked about any practical application for our findings, the best so far is the potential to stand the budgeting process on its head, reversing the order of accounts, and turning the inevitable deficits into money-generating surpluses! A preliminary search has shown no publications on this topic. We are presently applying to various government agencies and foundations for research grants, and we would appreciate any input from colleagues in other disciplines outlining whether and where this phenomenon has been noticed.
Anyone who has insights into this connundrum is urged to notify investigator Snyder, if you can find him or her.
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