About once a month I tend to go into hermit-mode where I don’t really stay in contact with friends or family. This period is what most accountants call “monthend” that glorious time when accountants run around like headless chickens trying to finalise the numbers for the fiscal month that just closed. In some companies this can be a leisurely 2 week period, others 5 days and other’s just 2 days. I get a day and a half to try and hammer down my numbers for my “Flash Meeting” when I report my numbers to my Director and CFO and ultimately the Regional HQ. The remainder of the days until the results are “published” are to do all the journal entries required to come up to what I had reported in Flash. This is also the time in which I need to get positive confirmation for my intercompany balances – as the units I take care of have several IC relationships, across the globe, it’s a bit of a challenge trying to get this confirmation. I have to deal with offices in Sydney, Tokyo, Mumbai, Duesseldorf, Paris, London and occassionally Athens. Sometimes there is a language barrier problem. Most times the problems I run up against are due to time – Tokyo, Sydney, Mumbai are easily 12hrs ahead of me, so when I send out an email I have to wait until the next morning to see a response. This doesn’t give me much time to adjust numbers, if necessary. As the Flash is on the P&L and IC is on the Balance Sheet I can still do adjusting entries into the system.
As well I reconcile two massive bank accounts. One of them, my USD, is relatively easy to reconcile as the only transactions that flow through there are done by myself, my AP Clerk and our Cash Receipts Clerk. So it’s very easy to trace a transaction to the initiator and figure out how to fix a discrepancy. My CAD account, which is the huge behemouth, has multiple fingers into it. There’s myself, my AP Clerk, the Cash Receipts Clerk, the HR Manager, Corporate Finance in NY, AR Supervisor in NY, Finance Systems Analysts and whatnot. It takes me about an hour to reconcile the USD account. It takes me close to 8 hours to reconcile the CAD account.
Plus I have to calculate the monthly tax provision for one of my units. To do this accurately I need to wait until one other unit is complete (as it rolls up into the legal entity that I reconcile).
So unlike some of my other co-workers I do things that the rest of them don’t. I do journal entries across company codes. I work with international counterparts. I have to make sure that the millions sitting in our bank account is correctly reflected in the GL.
And that’s monthend.
Year-end is worse.
I am not allowed to have any IC variance, not even by $1K CAD. My tax provision has to be spot on. If I had under-remitted the monthly Corporate Tax Installment I have to get a cheque cut quickly.
As well, I have to work on something called “Yearend Pack” – which is a really time consuming and highly detailed set of reports which are used by External Auditors, Internal Auditors, Tax Auditors and other stakeholders in the overriding Corporation. Once complete it has to be signed off by both the CFO and the CEO/President. That set of signatures is required by Sarbannes-Oxley. With those signatures they are attesting to the fact that all internal controls are in place, there has been no collusion, all numbers are accurate – and that they will take criminal responsibility if the entity is lying to its stakeholders. A heavy burden, which explains why the whole year-end process is tedious, over-analysed and a godsend when it’s over.
I have one more set of reports to fill out for year-end and then it will sort of be over, for about a week. I have to complete the “Client Profitability” Report.
Then the wonderful set of Tax Packages have to be filled out. Because our Regional HQ is in NY there has to be a filing with the IRS. Which means the above YE Pack that I had completed needs to be done again, but from an American perspective (the above is for the UK Tax Authorities). Once completed to the satisfaction of the Tax Managers in NY I then start in on preparing the Tax Packages for CRA for the Canadian filings.
So if you don’t see me much over the next month or two, know that I am doing my damndest to ensure that the stockholders will be getting their money’s worth at the annual Shareholders’ Meeting.