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This week I have a PST Auditor haunting the corridors of my workplace. In the initial “engagement” letter the emphasis of the audit was to be an affiliate that a co-worker (the individual with very poor computer skills) is responsible for. My manager rang the Ministry of Finance -ORST Division to ask what about the other units that make up the legal entity. Now I’m sucked in. As I have the largest affiliate the emphasis has shifted onto me. As well, the auditor has figured out – rather quickly – that I am extremely comfortable with my computer and SAP. So he’s finding it easier for me to run reports for him, even if the reports are not for my affiliate.

Thankfully the auditor declared on Monday and even yesterday that he wants to do as little work as possible. And I must say, his actions are pointing to that. Every time one of us drops off some report, file, whatnot to him he isn’t at his desk. He shows up around 10am and leaves around 4pm — and during that time he takes an extended lunch, atleast 10 coffee breaks, and a few strolls. I’m hoping to get rid of him either today or tomorrow.

He has decided that some of our vendors did not charge us PST so we have to self-assess. He unilaterally decided, on a sample of one, to calculate the back-PST for 4 years. Luckily, when I joined the company, I did start self-assessing for capital purchases .. so for the past 2 years we’ve been good. And I was able to prove that I was doing that. So that reduces our liability. As well I pointed out that on some of the invoices we were charged PST, so it would be grossly unfair to unilaterally decide we owe $xxxxx.xx. I said I’d rather we go through the vendor files together and actually look at the invoices. I very boldly told him “i know you want to get as much money out of us, and I want to pay you as little as possible .. we have to find a middle ground where neither one of us is happy”.

The daily aspect of this audit is my responsibility, my manager said that I am to take the lead on this. I hate audits, not because they are audits, but because they take me away from my other responsibilities. So this means I need to either work OT or on weekends to catch up. Why this blaise attitude? I’ve been through so many audits – PST, GST, Corporate Tax, Sarbannes-Oxley, performance audits, security audits .. you name it – that it’s just second nature for me. I also know that auditors are not infallible, and not every utterance should be taken .. everything should be questioned. Just like them demanding backup for transactions, I demand the same with regards to their calculations.

Because of my  having gone through many audits my journal entries have loads of backup, to justify why I had done a journal entry — PST self assessments, P&L reclasses, revenue accruals/deferrals, accruals, cash receipts, amortisations etc. My binders are huge because of all the backup. My co-workers, on the other hand, do not produce as much backup as I do. End result is that they tend to scramble trying to figure out why they had done a JE 9 months ago, whereas I can just easily flip to the accompanying pages of the JE and show why I had done something. As I said I hate audits because they are time consuming .. the less time I get pestered, the happier I am.

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