Friday, November 29, 2019
Accounting Files - Is that What You Call Them?
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I now have a computer and have been tasked with following up with some delinquent customers. I figure this should be an easy task to attack and complete successfully. After seeing the handwritten "delinquent list" (this should have been my first clue), I notice that some of these customers are really overdue. I find it difficult to believe that a small company could afford to let customers go that long without paying, but I am quickly learning that I am frequently surprised here.
I ask "The Boss" to load the accounting software on my computer, or allow me access through the network. Surprise.... we are not networked. You may find that statement surprising, my next comment will take your breath away - this organization does not have or utilize an accounting program! When I question how AP/AR and handled, the response not only made my head spin, but also made everything revert to slow motion. A/R was kept track of on Microsoft Word!!! Here is how it works - each month a new Word document was started, as a sale was made (and shipped), it was entered into the word processing file (customer name, invoice number, what they purchased and what they owed). When a customer would send payment, that line was deleted from the file. I guess as this protocol was being explained to me, I must have given "The Boss" a strange look (my Mom used to always say that I didn't have much of a poker face), because he asked me what was wrong. I quickly said nothing and knew that this was going to be the basis of a great story to my other business minded friends.
As I sat down to start my task of following up on delinquent payments and quickly discovered, in addition to not having an accounting program, this organization also did not have a customer list (how the hell are they remotely successful). As a normal thinking person would deduct, this made contacting these organizations quite difficult, because I did not have contact name, contact number, etc.
Being able to work independently and outside of the box, I decided that maybe I should go back to the original work order (there had to be some useful information there). I asked where these files were located and was directed to "the third drawer of the black file cabinet"; I opened the drawer and immediately time seemed to stand still. In this drawer were old 10 x 17 envelopes addressed to the organization (these were envelopes that had been sent to the company - I guess they practice recycling). On the front of the used envelope I pulled out of the drawer, I saw, in big letters "SEPTEMBER". I peered inside the envelope what I found was a hodgepodge of information - handwritten order form, work order (of course, without any contact information) and maybe some shipping information; non of which were bound together for each order. So, if you wanted to find all the components of invoice #100, you would have to go through the ENTIRE envelope and HOPE that it was included in the correct month "file".
This task was not going to be as easy as I had once thought.