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The following appeared in a memorandum from a member of a
and consulting firm.
ďWe have learned from an employee of
Windfall, Ltd., that its accounting department,
by checking about ten percent of the last monthís purchasing invoices for
errors and inconsistencies, saved the company some $10,000 in overpayments.
In order to help our clients
increase their net gains, we should advise each of them to
institute a policy of checking all purchasing invoices for errors. Such a
recommendation could also help us
get the Windfall account by demonstrating to Windfall
the rigorousness of our methods.Ē
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
Sample essay 1:
The argument that checking all purchasing
invoices for errors will not only increase the net gains of the clients but also
help the firm get the
Windfall account is not entirely logically
convincing, since it ignores certain crucial assumptions. First,
the argument assumes that instituting a policy of checking all purchasing
invoices can help find out the errors
and inconsistencies. There
are a number of reasons why this might not be true. For example, the people who
check the accounts will probably make mistakes
as anyone else, intentionally
or unconsciously. If they do, checking
purchasing invoices will not help avoid errors and inconsistencies.
Second, even if the checking can help avoid
errors and inconsistencies, it will not necessarily save money for the company,
for it is also likely that the accounting
department makes no mistakes. If they have no errors, how can the checking save
money for the company. Finally, even
supposing the checking does save money for the company, the argument ignores the
fact that the checking itself costs the company
money. If the cost is more than the gains from the errors, the company will lose
argument is not completely sound. The evidence in support of the conclusion that
the checking of last monthís invoices has saved
the company $10,000 does little prove the conclusion that checking all
purchasing invoices for errors will not only increase the net gains
of the clients but also help the firm get the Windfall account since it does not
address the assumptions I have already raised. Ultimately,
the argument might have been strengthened by making
it plain that checking all invoices will
surely help find out errors,
that all the invoices are bound to contain
errors, and that the checking itself will not cost much.
Sample essay 2:
In this argument a member of a financial
management and consulting firm reasons that since Windfall Ltd. increased its
net gains by checking 10 percent of its
purchasing invoices for errors, it would be a good idea to advise the firmís
clients to institute a policy of checking
all purchasing invoices for errors. Two potential benefits are foreseen from
this recommendation: it could help the firmís clients increase
their net gains, and it could help the firm land
the Windfall account. The memberís
argument is unconvincing for a couple of reasons.
The main problem with the argument is that
the conclusion is based upon insufficient evidence. The fact that some of
Windfallís purchasing invoices contained
errors might simply be attributable to the sloppy
accounting practices of Windfallís
suppliers. Thus, rather than indicating a
general problem, the invoice errors might simply be indicative of a problem that
is specific to Windfall Ltd. In other
words, the evidence drawn from Windfallís experience is insufficient to
support the conclusion that all purchasing invoices are subject
to similar errors.
Secondly, the evidence offered in the
argument suggests only that companies purchasing from the same suppliers that
Windfall purchases from are likely to
experience similar problems. If the firmís clients do not purchase from
Windfallís suppliers, checking for errors
might turn out to be a monumental
waste of time.
conclusion, the authorís argument fails to provide good grounds for
instituting the policy of routinely checking purchasing invoices for errors.
To strengthen the conclusion the author would have to provide evidence that this
is a widespread problem. Specifically, what is required
are additional instances of purchasing invoices containing errors that are drawn
from various companies.