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The inventory check conducted by a private contractor (name of the contractor) has revealed a 20 percent discrepancy which goes in a downward direction. The warehouse ledger shows the total inventory's (crude oil) worth to be 1 million US dollars, however the inventory check report provided by a private contractor shows the total inventory's worth to be at around 800 thousand US dollars. The internal investigation of embezzlement has been initiated as of the 4th of may.

The phase which goes in a downward direction is where the rubber meets the road and where the shoe pinches, for it is a Russian idiom written in English words. I personally think that with the context at hand one can easily infer what it means.

PS: If it is incomprehensible to native speakers, I’d like to know how it should be phrased to be comprehensible.

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  • I'd understand it, but it's not idiomatic. (Neither is where the shoe pinches, but I really love that!)
    – jimsug
    May 11, 2014 at 13:22
  • Well, I guess that means that I'm good to go ahead with it
    – user74809
    May 11, 2014 at 13:39
  • 3
    I think you'd be better off saying "... has revealed a 20 percent shortage."
    – Hellion
    May 11, 2014 at 13:52
  • @Hellion I was actually struggling to think of something good (it'd getting late). That'd work.
    – jimsug
    May 11, 2014 at 13:54

3 Answers 3

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A substitute for 'a discrepancy which goes in a downward direction' can be:

....a 20 percent negative discrepancy

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  • Well, that's more like it and it fits right in.
    – user74809
    May 11, 2014 at 17:07
  • It seems to me that negative is redundant: discrepancy in this context almost always suggests corruption. Oct 6, 2016 at 14:34
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I would go with something like:

The private contractor's inventory check has exposed an operating deficit of twenty percent.

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  • For now it is not considered as an operating deficit it is still classified as an accounting discrepancy which means I cannot use anything other than a discrepancy for the time being without wrecking the integrity of the piece...
    – user74809
    May 11, 2014 at 16:29
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Try a 20 per cent {shortfall / deficit}.

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  • They (investigators) do not think it was embezzlement or shortfall / deficit they think it was pure and simple negligence. If I use anything other than "discrepancy" it may give the wrong thoughts to the wrong people. So I'm kind-of trapped here to go with discrepancy only
    – user74809
    May 11, 2014 at 21:14
  • Well, let me paint you a picture. The warehouse's invoice sheet says it got only 820 thousand dollars worth of inventory and then after a month that 820 thousand dollars worth of inventory turned into 1 million dollars though it was supposed to stay at the 820 thousand dollar level. Then the private contractor was called in to do an inventory check which says that the total worth of inventory is 800 thousand dollars. Hence the investigators work under the assumption that there was some kind of accounting mistake made in the books. Ergo, they think, there's a simple discrepancy to be found.
    – user74809
    May 11, 2014 at 21:16
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    'Shortfall' implies nothing about the reason for the shortage. It refers merely to the gap between the actual value and the higher theoretical one. (BTW, you did mention an embezzlement investigation in your original posting...)
    – Erik Kowal
    May 11, 2014 at 21:29
  • Yep, an investigation of embezzlement. Negligence or plain stupidity and some other such stuff is investigated in Russian under the huge umbrella of "embezzlement (embezzlement can be of many types, intended, by negligence or plain stupidity) ". I have 10 pages in which the word discrepancy is mentioned multiple times to translate. I need to have some consistency...
    – user74809
    May 11, 2014 at 21:43
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    @user74809 - You can safely use 'discrepancy' without fear of being misunderstood once it is clear from the context you have set that there is an inventory deficit. At that point no-one will be in any doubt what is implied by the term. (BTW, 'in sooth' is extremely old-fashioned -- use 'in truth' or 'actually' instead. :-) Also, money is singular, not plural: money goes missing, not go missing.)
    – Erik Kowal
    May 12, 2014 at 0:56

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