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My company switched over to new fancy schmany accounting system, an ERM, which allows a tighter control over project spends and greater oversight on projects and overall overhead spend. The system is suppose to make it much better for analysis.

There has been a lot of pain, switching gears with regards to implementing the new system. I work in a company in which a lot of the senior project managers have been with the company 10+ years and are use to Finance hand-holding them, overspending without reprecussions, and not really be answerable to anyone. Now there is a system in which now they are required to get signed approval from clients before they can spend a penny – as Finance will not “approve” the project code until there is authorisation from the client. This has caused a lot of pain because all of a sudden the Project Managers have to play by the rules — and there’s been a lot of bitching this week that Finance now has too much power. As I don’t work in this part of Finance (I am involved in Financial Reporting, which is the external Financials, the General Ledger and Tax/Audit issues) this doesn’t really affect me, though it does affect my assistant as she has to enter all the invoices.

My painful experiences this week have been caused by several different groups:

  • My co-workers — for some magical and mysterious reason which I cannot fathom they all believe that I understand the system and am an expert. I have never worked with the new system and have received the exact same training as the rest of them. But for some mad reason they feel they can come to me for advise. Reasons for this could be manifold, one of them being that they are afraid of approaching our mutual manager (she can be a little abrupt, but I’m getting use to that myself and actually find it good) and I have become a sort of substitute for the IT Helpdesk as I understand such schmancy things like Excel formulae.
  • My assistant – she herself is not causing me problems, but her problems are causing me problems. Her responsibility, as an A/P Clerk, is to enter all the invoicing in. I do my bit by coding all the invoices to the correct profit centre and G/L code, so that she doesn’t have to go through the COA (Chart of Accounts) looking for the correct G/L, I do this to speed up the process for her. What is slowing her down is that people are sending her invoicing which are to be coded to jobs, but the system won’t reject the data entry until the very end when she’s about to save — it then says that either the project elements don’t exist or the project is overspent.

I feel for my assistant and have told her that I know the workload is a lot, but let’s give it until about February 20th and see if we can’t get past the learning curve. If the workload is too much then she and I would have to sit down together and put together a “business needs case” to my manager to argue for more support for my assistant — either getting a part-time clerk in or rejigging job responsibilities in the department. We have also discussed having hard cut-offs of when she will accept invoices for inputting for a given week. I suggested that for a Friday cheque-run that the latest she should be accepting invoices is Wednesday noon; the only exceptions being at the behest of myself or my manager (so items like commodity taxes, income taxes, employer taxes which are “statutory” will get processed whenever depending on the due date). My assistant likes the fact that I support having a hard deadline, as it takes the pressure off her when someone from Creative comes in with a cheque requisition demanding immediate payment — she can now easily say “Please go speak to my Manager, Ms Beanie”….and now I get to be the hard-ass, which I don’t mind.

I am going in this weekend into the office, mostly because I need to prepare for my preliminary January Results meeting on Monday. Because of all the distractions of my co-workers demanding that I show them how to do a journal entry, Project Managers begging to allow my assistant to process their expense reports, and other distractions, I have not had a chance to get my own work done. Today is the day when I can do that. I can’t entry my journal entries today, but I can prepare my report with the potential entries in mind.