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Why the ordeal of year-end accruals

Why is it that some law departments go through an end-of-year rite, asking their law firms to give them estimates of November and December bills so that the department can accrue for them, yet other law departments ignore that effort? A major regional bank I have worked with makes no effort.

It must have to do with the ability to either spend money during the year or spend it later if they have accrued for it. My ignorance or naiveté must be glaring.