Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper: (Day 72) Bank Balance? What Bank Balance?

Dear Diary,

Today, was a funny day.  The boss came into my office, and he had this look on his face.  It was a look like, I’m gonna get answers – no matter what.

Pasting an innocent expression on my face, I quickly hid the Mafia Wars game on my computer screen and turned my full attention to him.  “What’s up, Boss?” I asked.

“Hey, Betty.  I was just wondering – how much money do we have in the checking account right now?”

Oh Crap, I thought.  He’s not catching on to me, is he? “Why do you ask?”

“Well, I was checking out the iPads online, and I was thinking I wanted to get one of the ones with 3G—”

You and Me both!

“—But I don’t want to have to finance it.  I figured maybe we could pay cash for it.  So, I was just wondering what our bank balance was.”

Heck if I know.

Okay, maybe I do know, but I can’t tell him the real balance. “I’ll have to get back to you on that one,” I told him.

He looked around at the large piles of paperwork on my desk, his face twisting with irritation.  “You can’t just pull up some report and tell me?”  It was obvious he didn’t like my carefully gathered piles of paperwork, but I had to look busy.

“It’s not that easy,” I lied.  “I have so much work, it’s going to take me a while to get you an accurate balance.”

“I can wait,” he said, leaning against the table in my office.

It was then, I knew… I would have to pull out the big guns to get him to drop the subject.

Grabbing my stomach, I grunted and shifted in my seat.

“You okay?” he asked.

I waved a hand nonchalantly.  “Oh, sure.  I’m fine.  It’s just… I’m cramping.  I’m PMS’ing right now, and my stomach is really hurting.  I want to get you that balance, but I’m in so much pain.”

He stiffened, as if I’d slapped him, and quickly came to his feet.  Then, his face turned red so fast, I thought steam would shoot out of his ears.

“You’re hurting that much?” he asked, inching toward the door.

I whimpered and nodded.  I wanted to drive it home with a  few tears – just to see if I could get sweat to break out on his balding forehead – but I’ve never been good at making myself cry.  So instead, I did the whole wobbly chin thing.

“You know what – you’re busy,” he told me, from the hallway now.  “I can get it another time.  Just let me know the balance when you can.”  And with that, he turned on one heel and practically sprinted away.

I was hard-pressed not to start laughing out loud.  But I realized a hard truth.  Men will always run when it comes to PMS and tears.

I will definitely remember that next time.


What Any Business Owner Has the Right to Expect From Their Bookkeeper:

I know a lot of bookkeepers may get mad at me for saying this, but in my opinion, when a business owner asks “What is my bank balance?” the bookkeeper should be able to answer fairly quickly.  A good bookkeeper will be doing the bank reconciliations regularly – as in, within a week of receiving the bank statements.  And even if they don’t have an exact balance because there are checks and debits outstanding, they should still be able to estimate fairly accurately what the current balance is.  If they can’t tell you the balance – or estimate it – or if they say it will take a couple days to do the bank reconciliation, take this as a warning sign.  The Bank Register is one of the most important things a bookkeeper manages, and they should be on top of it.  Personally, it has never taken me longer than an hour to do a bank reconciliation, and that’s with entering checks.  Obviously, give them time to calculate it, but it’s reasonable to expect the balance by the end of the day.

Originally posted 2010-05-18 13:14:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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