Friday, April 08, 2005

Work Diaries (21): the accounting nightmare!

My job as a manager’s assistant is not simply assisting my boss in certain work duties, no, being a manager’s assistant in this company means being the manager, project manager, sales supervisor, secretary, marketing personnel, receptionist, IT department, finance department, legal reference, and last but not least the accountant. In short I’m a whole company in one person. Actually, I don’t mind being all that… all but the accountant, that is.
I remember in my job interview the boss asked me: can you resume “simple” accounting operations.I didn't know that by “simple” he meant all accounting operations from the simplest to the most complicated.
Now I can proudly say that I’ve become a professional accountant. Yes, now I’m an expert in revenue, outcome, income, transfers, tax, penalty, expense reports, currency exchange, everything!
But I guess teaching myself all this isn’t really remarkable effort to my boss, who believes all this should be known by default, even it’s obviously stated in my C.V. that I’m no accountant, and did nothing related to accounting in my whole career life.

Anyway, around this time of the year, the mother company sends us an annual financial report, according to which the tax is calculated, so that we pay it to the local government. The annual financial report is based on the figures and support documents -yours truly- sends every month, which is APPROVED by my boss.
3 weeks ago, we got this annual report. And instead of simply paying the tax, my boss insisted we double check on he mother company!
Boss: Eman, the tax is so high, I want you to double-check.
Eman: But they’re the ones who are going to pay, so it’s to their own interest to be accurate!
Boss: Just double-check to make sure.

After 2 days of double-checking it turns out that according to my calculations we should pay less. I submitted a detailed report, which my boss sent to the mother company.
The mother company sent us back another detailed report that shows the difference, which was due to extra amounts I didn't calculate because they were submitted before I was employed.

Eman: I guess everything’s clear now!
Boss: No, I still want you to double- check their detailed report.
Eman: But as you can see they provided detailed explanation with supporting documents.
Boss: Just do me a favor and double-check, will you?
Eman: OK (you stubborn bastard).
After 4 hours of double-checking…
Eman: Sir, figures are all correct.
Boss: How? Explain to me!
After 2 hours of explaining…
Eman: Clear now?
Boss: Yes. So please call the local accounting audit and tell him to come double-check on your double-checking, just to make sure.
Eman: Do you really think there’s a need for all this?
Boss: Certainly, better safe than sorry, call him right away, let’s get this done.
Eman: Ok (you …$@**#&*+@)

Local audit came next day, after explaining the whole report thing, he double-checked on the report that I have already double-checked.
Audit: It’s all fine.
Boss: Explain to me Eman.
Eman: But I already explained.
Boss: Never mind, explain again please.
1 more hour of unnecessary explaining…
Boss: Ok everything’s clear.

Next day…
I get a cc of an email from my boss to the mother company accountant:
Dear(…), after Eman’s double-checking on your report, and the local Audit double-checking on Eman’s double-checked report, I would like you to double-check the audit’s double-checking on Eman’s double-checked report, just to avoid any mistakes.

The accountant of the mother company replied, with cc to me:
Dear(…), I don’t know why can’t you just take our calculations for granted. It’s my job, my responsibility to do this report with no further questioning, and it’s us who are going to pay the money, yet I answered all your questions and was ok with you double-checking on me. But that’s it, just go pay the tax in your country.

2 days later…
Boss: Eman, call the local audit. I want you both for an urgent meeting.
Eman: Is everything ok?
Boss: Nothing’s ok. I’m not paying that tax. Both of you are going to double-check in front of me again.
Eman: But why?! We already double-checked and explained to you, and you were ok. Let’s not waste our time on the same old story PLEASE!
(he calls the audit himself)

After a very BORING, very STRESSING, very FULL of stupid questions meeting, my boss asked for detailed documents that explain and support every single item. It took us 4 more days to go over these and I was asked –AGAIN- to write a report that summarizes all documents, invoices, bank operations, amounts spent, amounts received, funds and everything related to accounting for the whole year of 2004.
I was done yesterday, and the final result was exactly the same of the mother company’s.
My boss took my detailed report with a very big smile on his face.
Boss: Great job Eman. What could I do without such a reliable assistant.
Eman: No problem, just let’s get this done with for good.
Boss: Ah, same closing amounts, PERFECT!
Eman: Yeah (FINALLY).
Boss: Call the local audit for a final check up. So that I could send it to be approved by the mother company and pay the tax.
Eman: What?!!! (you’re unbelievable)
Boss: Just what you heard!
Eman: (You’re sick)
Boss: And make sure you answer all his questions.
Eman: (You’re evil)
Boss: And then we’ll call a meeting so that both of you would explain everything to me.
Eman: (you’re such a pain in the a**) Um…you sure we should call the..
Boss: It wont take a lot of time, I promise.
Eman: But!
Boss: And make sure you and the audit have same results!
Eman: (I really hate you more than anything right now).

Tax was paid, the nightmare was finally OVER!
Boss: See things went smooth and easy!
Eman: Maybe for you, but definitely not for me. I hate accounting.
Boss: Really? Didn’t know that.
Eman: Well, now you know.
Boss: I’ll help you get over your hatred, prepare for a double-check on the reports of the last 4 months, I want a detailed analysis on my desk by Monday!