Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bullshit bills

Maybe it's a joke. Honestly I wouldn't have been surprised if somebody had come out saying I was being Punk'd. This woman who worked with Arnie started a small business. She asked if he knew anyone who could help her to organize her receipts, reconcile her books, all that. Arnie sent me. Yesterday I went over, and it seemed like such a wreck that I thought it was a joke.

Her bank account for her business said she had about $100,000 more in it than her billing program did. Sure I was misunderstanding, I started looking through the last two years of the billing program. Want to know my conclusion? She is a total ditz and a bunch of the people she works with are also total ditzes.

There were so many occurrences of her entering that she'd written a check to someone on the same date for the same thing, twice. Just deleting those doubles gave me $44,000. Then, all checks she writes say they're void after 90 days, and I found checks from 2010 and 2011 that simply never got deposited. She gave people checks and they never took the money? When I get a check it always gets deposited either that same day or the very next. How could someone get a check and then just sit around with it at home?

Then I looked at her current bills, like everything from the start of 2012 to present, and you know what? She's written out checks to pay bills, but not sent them out. This woman is terrible at running her business! When I mentioned it to her, she was like, "Oh right, let's send them out today!" and I had to tell her this is a terrible idea. Even when I explained my two reasons (1. some of the checks were written more than 90 days ago meaning she'd be sending out dead checks, 2. in some cases there are four bills with four checks all from one company sending bills month after month) she didn't understand.

Finally I talked her into letting me shred all the old checks and just write one check paying the full amount to each business she owes money to. When I had all the bills paid the lady was like "This is great - I'll mail these out on Monday!" Um, no. I will mail them out for you. Obviously you can't be trusted to mail out bills.

It was tempting to bring her into the 21st century by doing online bill paying, but it was clear she wasn't ready for such a revolutionary change. This is why rich people are crazy - she didn't notice a problem that involves more money than I've ever earned in an entire year. If being rich means not even keeping track of your money, then I don't want to be rich. It's not worth being that disorganized.

I got that woman within $5,000 of what her bank account says is in it. Bet you anything if I went back in three months she'd have three months of bills unpaid and more double entries all over again.


Mizasiwa said...

This seems like a good opportunity for another side job for you? As irritating as it may seem you should offer her your services.

Anonymous said...

I understand that only a person with money might end up in the situation you've described. But it certainly isn't only wealthy people who don't keep track of what they spend.

I suggest that you try to look beyond "rich" and "poor" in your framing of people's weaknesses and strengths. "Rich" and "Poor" are circumstances, not character traits.

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is exactly what I do for a living. Most people call it bookkeeping, I call it "crap handling". It's on my business cards. The first job I got, the owner of the business gave me five trash bags of his sales for the past seven years. Trash bags. I actually still work for him, and it's the best job I've ever had. If people want to throw money at you to clean up their crap, let them. Not everyone has a brain for the paperwork. If they are willing to pay you to be the brain, go for it! I love my job. I get to make my own schedule, I am always working in different places, I don't have to wear stupid suits, AND I get to work allll alone. Awesome! -A.

Sara said...

Welcome to accounting. I can't tell you how many hours I spent sorting through literal shoeboxes of receipts. It was a good feeling to turn that pile of papers into an accurate tax return, though. I miss that part of CPAing a lot.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Anonymous #1. Financial wealth doesn't make people perfect or solve all of their problems. Most wealthy people are just like everybody else except they don't have to worry about every last dime. Sam, as your world expands and you grow older and gain more life experience, you'll see this is true.

Love your attitude Anonymous #2!Sounds like you've got what works for you all figured out. I admire that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon #1 completely. You seem obsessed with "rich" or "poor", but it is all just "people" and there are good and bad in both groups. You can be poor and still be messy and irresponsible, you can be wealthy with good morals and frugal habits. Get over it.