Am I paranoid or are all accountants this anal?

More of a mild, PG rant so I posted it here. Feel free to move this thread to a more appropriate place if need be.

Here at work I do a multitude of tasks for a variety of departments. I build & maintain our corporate website, design & layout sales literature & brochures, help with video projects, design various custom spreadsheets and small database projects, record & summarize various incomes on a daily basis, even printing high-quality pictures for various court cases.

Here’s my rant: in a report I sent out for February I said we had income of $1,007,653.96. An accountant sent out an e-mail a few ours later stating that in fact we had $1,006,756.09 of revenue, not my figure. Now the numbers I give are merely an advance notice of the official reports which are printed in a few weeks. I never guarantee that I am 100% accurate, but I would think that being 99.9% is damn close enough. I was overstated by $900 freakin dollars. The company isn’t going to fall apart becuase my little report wasn’t 100% on the nose.

Is this just an accounting thing that they are ultra-precise and overly anal about every little thing? Or is my paranoid mind right and he’s out to get me?

The accountant was doing his job. They have auditors (either corporate or external) who may question them about why the actual posted figures don’t match what was in the report.

No, out of a million dollars, $900 isn’t that much, but accuracy is very important in accounting, and they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Be glad you have accountants that question and find the right number when something seems off.

just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean he’s not out to get you. accountants are very anal about figures because they have to be. If you’re off one penny in Feb of '03 and the error is not correctd the account will never balance again and you may have to go back months or even years to find the error.

Yep, we’re that “anal”.

Even if you’re rounding to thousands, your number would still be incorrect. No, it’s not much, but it’s not the right number.

Now, the folks over here in Finance, well, we’d shrug and attribute it to “rounding”.

(yes, I know I’ve referred to myself as both an accountant and someone in finance. I’m a little bit of both, and thus sometimes can’t decide how anal I really need to be :wink: )

My dad is a CPA, and he’s not an anal guy, but when it comes to his job he is very precise. If someone had for example, embezzled that $900, it would be his ass if they found out that he knew $900 was missing and chose not to correct the error or report it. It’s his job to make sure everything balances out.

But there is no account and nothing needs to balance. The only thing I’m doing is consolidating numbers on an Excel spreadsheet so that the Pointy Haired Bosses can see the revenue figures a few weeks before the official numbers are printed. The stuff I do has always been unofficial and has always been labeled as such. No auditor cares about what I do and no general ledger accounts or actual money is ever affected by me.

Speaking as a (former) internal auditor…yes, they do care about what you do.

But, when the numbers for the month are posted to GL, and those reports are generated and sent to the Pointy Haired Bosses™, they will see a number that doesn’t match what you told them the number would be several weeks before. Well…say this happens every month, even if it’s only off $900 a month. Doesn’t seem like that much, but if I was still in auditing, it would make me want to sit down with you and know exactly were every number on your spreadsheet came from - because maybe you were ‘hiding’ that $900. (I’m not saying you were, but that would have been one of the ideas that came into my mind).

Perhaps in a previous month the numbers didn’t match, the accountant didn’t send such an e-mail and he/she got questioned by the Pointy Haired Bosses™ as to why the numbers didn’t match, and s/he wanted to make sure that they knew accounting was aware of the discrepancy from the time of your report this time around, instead of waiting for Pointy Haired Bosses™ to come to them.

Frank #2

I feel your pain. I’m a mktg analyst/sales gopher and I deal with the same bull each month.

I know acct’s are doing their job, but they still drive me crazy with rounding errors ($1,000 out of millions) and they ARE out to get me.:smiley:

hang in there…accountants are like that because they have to be.

This is exactly why I changed my major half way through college from finance/acctg to OPs management.

Yes accountants do this.
He is probably not out to get you. He wants columns to balance. That is his purpose in life. The company needs at least one person like that. Enron sure did.
Don’t take it personally. He’ll do it to everyone. Seek his help next time – get him on your side before you send out a report.

And be glad that you are you.

Welp, my mind’s at ease:

It’s the accountants that are crazy. I’m the only sane one here. :slight_smile:

My mom’s in accounting, and trust me, very few mistakes get past her, and figures and calculations do not go undouble-checked. She has a system of doing everything, and a strict monthly schedule she adheres to. She has devised and maintains her own accounting procedures and keeps checklists to make sure she’s done everything that has to be done.

If that’s anal, then frankly, I wouldn’t want my accounting people to be any other way. I’d much prefer the person who is meticulous about details be in charge of my paychecks and employee benefits.

And really, there’s no better staff to get close to if you really want to know what shape a company is in. Most will be discreet, but if disaster is on the horizon, I’d say the accounting people are among the first to see it coming. When the accounting people start leaving, you know something’s up.