Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's Been a Heck of A Couple Days

At my real, full time job, I wear many hats. I answer phones, work on projects, go shopping for office snacks, deal with clients, etc. It is the nature of my job. We have a couple bank accounts, I take care of the petty cash one. Quicken and I are best friends forever. My petty cash account has not been "off" or "wrong" or whatever since I arrived. In fact, our company accountant is very happy with the Quicken files. My boss is happy the accountant is happy.

I was given the task of doing almost 18 months of account reconciling on one of our other bank account, 18 months. It had been in the custody of my now long departed boss, one of her best work buddies took over her some of responsibilities and the account, she then left in February. My boss asked me to assume the duties of keeper of that checkbook a couple weeks ago, so I did.

Imagine my horror when I went to her files only to discover, opened, but unbalanced statements going back to December 2006. She kept a check register but never balanced the account. I think she did it all in her head. She never even wrote down a running balance in the check register. She had Quicken on her computer, she never inputted any information into it (and neither did my former immediate boss a supposed computer savvy person). She also did not enter any of the financials in the Excel spreadsheets that are set up either. I have no idea what information went to the accountant, probably all of it in a paper format. I remember we specifically bought Quicken to streamline our banking work and the transfer of information to our accountant. it was time for our small company to go beyond paper. I was hired because I can navigate around a spreadsheet (don't ask me to make a complicated one, but I can work with them.) My boss went through the roof when I told him that nothing was in the computer, nothing.

Since the accountant never raised a red flag, I can only guess they inputted all the information and did a reconciliation at tax time (costing the company $55/hour) when all they needed to do was download some files and see any back up they asked for. That account does not get used that often, so maybe it takes two hours a month to maintain, maybe? I know she got paid a lot less than $55/hour. I did find her lazy at times and would always complain that she had "so much work" (no more and at times a lot less than the rest of us). My company has used the same accounting firm for a number of years, sends it's financials out every few years to an independant auditor to make sure all is good (and our accountant encourages that, it's a double check thing) has been slow to computerize it's finances, but is slowly getting there as my boss realizes the savings by becoming automated. I know our accounting firm probably regrets the loss of income, but probably is not happy having to do all the company's accounting the old fashioned way, on paper.

It took me four days to input all the information, reconcile the accounts, find my errors (I would get tired and input numbers wrong) as I was doing my other work. I'm happy to say we are "off" by $15 and I found out where that error is. I'm really glad it was not $15,000. And I'm really glad I won't have to be on the computer as much. My eyes hurt. I've just sent the accountant an e-mail to expect our 1st and 2nd quarter bank reports no later than July 15th (earlier if I get all my bank information) and I've already told him I will have as much as I can on Quicken and in Excel for him. I'm going to pull the statement from the accountant on Monday and see just how much work we paid his office to do at $55/hr that could of, and should of been done in house.

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