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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another audit


It’s close to the end of another audit. I made a careless mistake that hasn't come back to bite me—yet. 

I love audits. For all these years, I've loved the ticking and tying, the double hash check mark on a page that says “perfect.” Not my ticking and tying, but the auditor’s, reviewing my work.

Not everything is correct of course. This is the government. It changes every time a new legislature enacts new laws. Sometimes I care about them, sometimes I don’t. If I don’t care enough, I get nicked. Take accounts, for instance. The government uses hundreds of accounts.

I've added one new account in ten years, so I could pay a zoning inspector from the zoning fund, not the general fund. Otherwise, if the account was good enough for the clerks before me, it is good enough for me.

I’m the veteran of nine audits in ten years now, counting the three fire department audits. My first audit was several auditors of state ago.

The audit manager this year has the same last name as my first auditor of state, who later ran for governor. I voted for him in the primaries, which is another good story I’d forgotten.  I wondered if she might be his daughter, but not bold enough to ask. I did find her in the public records; she earns seventy five grand a year. Be still my heart.

I exchanged emails with her to set up the audit and she dropped out of sight. The site manager and two other auditors appeared on schedule. This time I had a “real” audit. The last two have been “audit lites,” as we call them in the trade. Because my first four years were clean, the next four years I was awarded an “agreed upon procedures” audit. They showed up, made sure I balanced the bank every month, stuff like that, and left.

Not this time. As they should, they looked at everything. There was one young ticker and tier who made me do math I haven’t remembered in years to prove out the cost of some services we charge for. Phew! She had a middle sized rock on her left hand. I wonder if she’ll continue to rise, or subvert her career after marriage. Personal information does not flow around the table any more.

But, they were fun women, and the site manager and I shared a lot of accounting jokes in the course of the job. The site manager sent me more than a few questions to be answered by email, and we developed an easy enough relationship. She also has a name too similar to the regional manager’s name.

So, when I got an email from the regional manager asking for my bona fides, which she needed to include in the report, I didn't study on her name closely  before I answered, as follows:

I have a BA in English Lit, CWRU, 1965; an MA in American Lit, CWRU, 1970, a BS in Accounting, Lake Erie College, 1978. In the real world I was the controller of a subsidiary of Maytag Corp for 13 years; ran my own business for 20 years, and now am an old lady who is still working. I've done manufacturing accounting, construction accounting, government accounting. I know how to account for a pine tree on top of a sky scraper; I still haven't learned to cook the books.


She replied she was still laughing. Then I saw her name.  It could be the most unstuffy audit ever published by the State of Ohio.

Nine am this morning in my town

34 comments:

  1. Nice to deal with pleasant people...so often they come whizzing in all officious and obnoxious.

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  2. That's hilarious. Good for you, but you should be paid more. You're worth it.

    Love,
    Janie

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  3. Love your answer to her email, she should her head in.
    Merle..........

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  4. Nursing audits have plagued me all of my professional life
    Can't abide EM

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  5. Still haven't learned to cook the books...I like that...so honest you don't know how to cheat.

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  6. We had an "internal audit" every year... Ernst & Whinny... later Ernst and Young... (or maybe the other way round)... they always sent their newbie auditors along with some seasoned old fart.... we felt like we were a training ground. (I was payroll manager of a small hospital).... anyway... I love your answer to her e-mail.... don't think anyone I ever met had much of a sense of humor ;-)

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  7. All that Lit explains how you writ(e).
    It's been snowing for six months.

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  8. I love your answer - and I suspect it made her day.

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  9. Joanne, your email listing your credentials was both impressive and amusing. Being from the same generation as you, I know our paychecks were not equally impressive, and never amusing.

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  10. You are impressive all around.

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  11. A world I know nothing of and probably don't have the brains to know.

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  12. She may not have ever met someone with such wry humor as you. I am glad she had that experience; she'll remember it for some time to come.

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  13. I love your new header with the buds blooming; so colorful!

    Good for you for getting through the audit and seeming to do well with it!

    Looks like a dusting of snow; hope it stays that way!

    betty

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  14. Loved your email answer.
    I started learning accounting once but had to drop the classes, they finished too late at night, when the regular buses cut back to one every hour, so I'd get home super late and be sleepy at work the next day.

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  15. I thought there was no accounting for a pine tree on top of a skyscraper. ha.

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  16. Hari OM
    She gave you the chance and you made best use of it!!! Always a worry when it starts to look like lineage brings privilege of power - in a democracy... YAM xx

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  17. I love the personal touches. :-) Makes work so much easier!

    Pearl

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  18. The best verb for what I do when I visit your blog is this: "chortle."

    Observations such as this one--" I wonder if she’ll continue to rise, or subvert her career after marriage"--delight the hell out of me.

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  19. As someone closely connected to an auditor, may I say they are people, too, and appreciate a good joke as much as anyone! I'm sure you made her day.

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  20. Dear Joane,
    that is a fascinating report of an audit. Sounds complicated, but when people can still laugh, it is a good thing!

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  21. Wonderful peak into the land of business auditing, but truly daunting to math-phobes like me.

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  22. Math gives me the heebie jeebies.

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  23. Nice that you are still practicing your trade. You probably could teach those auditors a few things. Ice this morning -- quite the spring for you. -- barbara

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  24. Even the worst tasks can be less unpleasant if the person you are working with doesn't have a stick up their butt.

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  25. It's nice to be in a place in your job where you are comfortable with your skills and not threatened by things like audits.

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  26. You could teach a class on audits :) I try my best not to make mistakes but I know everyone makes them. I've actually found several things after I filed my taxes that were in the government's favor, meaning I paid more than I should have :(

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  27. Lord have mercy I would die! I hate audits. Not because I do anything wrong but more like having a cop behind your car following you when you are doing everything right.

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  28. always a good laugh before I go to bed with a glass of wine..Will cut and paste your response..Pine tree etc..Will keep it in "joanne, things to remember" right under story of cup on bus..Thank you old lady.

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  29. Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

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  30. Well, audit or no audit, you are lucky you are not so stressed out that you have to quit your job. My husband had to retire prematurely for that reason, and so did I (many years ago). Good luck!

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