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In the wacky world of accounting, in particular financial reporting, we have these “events” called “monthend”. Nothing spectacular about them, they come each month like clockwork. To help make them bearable one must manage their time in such a way that all necessary work can be done to meet deadlines – and also include time for unexpected shit — like the accounting system blowing up.

Monica, who I have  blogged about in the past, one of those truly special individuals who believes that she can leave at 17:00 each day even though she is missing deadlines. Accounting isn’t a profession where you can clock in at 9am and leave at 5pm each day. It’s a profession where you are expected to meet tight deadlines – and if that means you need to stay late, you stay late.

Today our results were due to the Regional HQ in NYC. That means all our reconciliations had to be completed yesterday and put together in our monthend binders. All our financial results had to be inputted into the reporting system. Everything had to be printed out and be ready for our Director to review and approve before the results could be published to NYC.

Because I reconcile the two largest “beasts” — the two largest units within the company, I tend to be the last to submit my results. I was the first to submit this month; and this never happens. To put it into perspective, a comparison of what I need to reconcile to what Monica needs to reconcile:

Bean Monica
CAD Bank Reconciliation (main one for the entire company, balance is $90M currently) CAD Bank Reconciliation – for small weekly cheque run, no other activity
USD Bank Reconciliation USD Bank Reconciliation – no activity, just a print out
Intercompany System Upload for 5  Units n/a
Intercompany Reconciliations – 20 foreign affiliates n/a
Calculate Corporate Tax Provision n/a
Prepare & Remit VAT n/a
Calculate Restricted Input Tax Credits n/a
Run Open PO Report for Billable Jobs n/a
Massive 200 line journal entry uploads n/a
Fixed Cost Allocations n/a
Variable IT Cost Allocations n/a
Deferred Rent n/a
Intercompany Billings n/a
Rest of the Balance Sheet Reconciled Rest of the Balance Sheet Reconciled (very minimal, as all Payroll accruals hit my units)

I was shocked, I admit, that I was the first to submit. But what was truly shocked, was the laissez-faire attitude Monica took to the whole situation. I reminded her that there are deadlines that need to be met. The excuse I got was because of the major upgrade to our accounting system that it was very difficult. I pointed out to Monica that she’s got two tiny units that take all of 4hrs total to reconcile – while I struggle for 7 days to get reconciliations completed. I also suggested to Monica that if she wants to continue with Accountantcy as a career path she needs to keep in mind her priorities — and missing Regional Deadlines isn’t the way to progress.

Monica does not report into me, but to Charlotte. I have asked Charlotte if she will be continuing with Monica, or will she be terminated. Charlotte doesn’t want to go through the pain & hassle of interviewing new candidates again. I suggested to Charlotte that she get tougher with Monica and if need be, to lay down the law.

My assistant, on the other hand, is a dream to work with. She is very aware of deadlines, is not afraid to approach me if there is a situation she cannot or should not handle (i.e., dealing with belligerent managers from other departments), but on the whole she is confident enough if her own skills to work with very little supervision. Monica outranks my assistant, and for an Accountant I would expect some aspect of independent thought. Alas, I am mistaken.