Wimminz – celebrating skank ho's everywhere

July 3, 2017

My first job

Filed under: Wimminz — wimminz @ 3:30 pm

By this I don’t mean my first ever paying job of first ever work for money, I mean my first ever proper regular salary job.

Even a year or two before at school I wouldn’t have predicted either of them, because basically I had two, in the evenings I was a barman at a local happening pub with a disco, and in the days Monday to Friday I was an accounts clerk.

At its most basic level this was going through boxes and boxes of receipts and invoices and so on, and matching them one by one to pen and ink entries in double entry ledgers, and then reconciling everything so everything balanced to the penny.

It was sheer clerical drudgery, and I was there for six months before the penny dropped that I was being paid 55 p per hour before tax, and my working day, all of it, was charged out to someone at £3 per hour (yes, I was on the grand sum of £20.62 a week before tax) and then I’d go off to my evening job at the bar from 7 to 11:30 and earn £1 per hour, so yes I earned £31.50 doing bar work for less hours… but either way you sliced it, 50 quid a week for a 17 year old back then was pots of money.

But anyway, back to the accountancy, I eventually moved to another firm for another six months earning 75 p an hour, and my work was charged out at £4 an hour…

But that’s neither here nor there, what it was, was EVERY SINGLE receipt or invoice had to EXACTLY match the entry in the double entry ledger, and it had to be allocated to the right account, eg light and heat, and vice versa, every single ledger entry had to have a receipt that matched it perfectly.

Only perfect matches were allowed through, and the the books were reconciled, and from there trial balances, extended trial balances, trading and profit and loss accounts, and balance sheets were produced, which the senior accountants would then peruse and sign off on, which would then be used as the basis for government taxes to be paid etc…. and the accountants could sign off on them as being true and accurate because we clerks had checked *everything* and it was fucking flawless and waterproof… can’t find the receipt for the new tractor, can’t get a copy because they went bust, too bad, you don’t get to use it in the books…. you could have won the tractor at cards and lost the £3k cash withdrawal youre attempting to match it to at the horses, and that won’t wash…

The senior accountant signing off on the final accounts was a sign that they were iron clad, and he was literally staking his career and liberty on it every single time he did it.

Of course back then the senior accountants real job was advising people how to avoid taxes and so on, how to invest wisely, you need to split this part of the business off as a separate concern and run these two bits separately, and of course all the big clients had space in the big safe for rolls of krugerrands and such like.

Fast forwards 40 something years and I have quickbooks and an accountant that lives 100 miles away and never even sees any paper receipts or anything, they have remote access to the quickbooks account, and that’s all they need to sign off after clicking “reports” and generating the various accounts reports, trial balance etc, piece of piss.

Of course it makes carousel VAT fraud a piece of piss too, just start an imaginary business that pays a lot of vat buying shit that gets exported vat free and claim the vat back every three months, no money or goods every actually existed, it’s just a nest of shell companies trading ones and zeroes with each other.

I am actually due a visit from the VAT man next month, and because I actually am in business he will find all sorts of errors and omissions, but no actual intent to deceive and no actual deception (if anything the cumulative errors add up to me being out of pocket and not having claimed half of what I could have) but of course that won’t make a huge difference…. I’m pondering whether or not to have a workshop water leak and fire and boating accident and just leave the bastard with the quickbooks version of the truth, got forbid he finds a debit card transaction for a fuel purchase in 2015 where I claimed the vat back and the receipt turns out to be a till receipt for fuel and not an actual vat receipt for fuel… even though nobody will dispute that fuel to the value of 50 quid was purchased on that day and that the vat on that fuel is therefore 50 / 1.2 = 41.67 so 50 – 41.67 = 8.33, I have the wrong receipt that the accountant has never looked at…

I’m also a small one man startup so the sums involved are relatively tiny, so it’s not like the guy is going to find fraud sufficient to balance the government deficit hiding away in my quickbooks.

Of course I am also (from my given name) clearly both white and english, so I’m safe to harass, it’s not like I can claim the bastard is being rayciss over a missing vat receipt for £8.33…

But this whole story does highlight an interesting point.

Back when I was a junior accounts clerk, I was taught that the “Sundries” account was for everything that did not have it’s own account in the books, and if the sundries account totalled more than a few quid, you were doing the job wrong, clearly these other things needed separate accounts to be created for their use.

Quickbooks does everything automagically, yet, it doesn’t have by default a whole slew of accounts that it should have, it is a fucking online / offline accounting package for fuck’s sake, how come I had to create an account for “IT” and sub accounts for “Software” and “Hardware” and “Internet connectivity“???… how are you going to *use* bloody quickbooks without an internet connection and software and hardware?

How does an accountant 100 miles away who has never physically seen anything sign off on my accounts?

Yet, it happens, all day every day all over the country.

And people wonder why the economy is so fucked… because what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and every fucker is at it, from the top on down.

My head hurts even *thinking* about how we would have dealt with a client to has several “investment” properties that they were letting out, all bought on interest only mortgages, and a car or three on personal / private leasing plans, and so on.

I’m sorry, interest only, you never intended to have any stake at all in the capital asset, you’re just taking on the entire liability and some funky deal where you only ever repay the interest, is this fucking rent or what? Hang on, let me go back to the last guy who couldn’t show me a vat receipt for 50 quids worth of fuel he bought in 2015… at least that shit didn’t make my head hurt.

But he was the one we investigate in case he is committing fraud, and this shit, well it’s all good and above board.

Got a friend who got over their head with debts, went to citizens advice and sorted it, for values of sorted that equate to, look, I know I owe the money, I can’t pay it, but neither do I want to give the impression that I have no intention of paying it, so if you could freeze the account, and I could make regular payments of £1 a month per account to keep it all “live” and we can review it every six months or so?

So the bank closes the frozen account that a £1 per month standing order was paying, opens a new account with the debt balance £3k or so, the client isn’t told and hasn’t signed anything, they’ve just had a new account opened in their name, the £1 payments start bouncing back, the new account doesn’t get any payments, £700 quid “fees” are added to the balance aaaaaand it’s sold to debt collectors as being in default.

My advice is ask to see their signature on the paperwork for the new account that they knew nothing about, leave all the standing orders in place, including the one that is now bouncing, and tell them to kiss your ass.

Mr Blood meet Mr Stone.

VAT man is going the same way, if they try and fuck me over I’ll just cancel the VAT registration, up my prices by 20% to cover the VAT I can no longer claim back, and fuck you all…. you’ll lose revenue from that day forwards, because it’s only the VAT that really needs me to keep all that shit on the books, for everything else electronic cash is king.

Of course, thanks to my first job, I have zero excuse for not having an absolutely perfect set of old fashioned double entry ledger paper books (or better still, TWO sets of books) but the brutal truth of the matter is human beings are lazy, and for the first year or so when you’re still feeling the waters it just isn’t worth keeping anal books about it, hello, my “business” is being heavily subsidised by my day job, including the capital purchases, and at that level all you need to know is do you have enough cash lying around to buy food and fuel and pay rent etc, if you do then you’re not losing money.

But I want to return again to the old system of 40 years ago that I learned as “my first job”, what it had going for it is this, it didn’t matter if it was a large company or a tiny corner shop, the signed off accounts were GOSPEL, unquestioned and unquestionable, but my all means, spend as long as you like poring over them in as much detail as you like, because there are zero errors to be found.

40 years have indeed passed, but there has been no “progress” because now we are in a place where an accountant who has never physically seen anything willingly signs off on it all, and a VAT inspector can look as close as he likes, and unless I am really stupid, he can’t tell if I am committing fraud or not, so what we are all doing is an exercise in making something that “looks and sounds and feels” legitimate.

This is a whole different ballgame, because it is subjective, it is no longer objective, so your approach to the whole thing is going to be utterly different.

Let me give you a specific example.

Nowadays (since they closed the local physical VAT offices) the only way to do VAT is online, so you have 5 or 6 boxes to fill in.

1/ VAT charged

2/ VAT paid

3/ #1 – #2 = net VAT owed to or owed by HMRC to you.

 

So you can put paid £2k worth of vat, charged £2k worth of vat, net vat owing £0

Or, you can put paid £0 worth of vat, charged £0 worth of vat, net vat owing £0 (this is the dreaded “null” return, all fields are null)

In both cases the vat owing is £0, provided the “null return” is only lying by omission, eg it is omitting the £2k paid and charged, then it isn’t changing the outcome, £0.00

But one might still land you in hot water, it *shouldn’t* because you aren’t screwing anyone, you’re just being lazy and taking shortcuts, but you aren’t actually lying your way out of something.

Back in my first real job, that was our job, I don’t think we had any clients who were deliberately trying to cheat the system, it wasn’t really very easy back then, but human nature *was* the same, and people would be lazy if they could be, and if they were just being lazy and not actually screwing anyone, they have a clear conscience about it.

Shrugs shoulders.

We got rid of that system, and now we have a system where anyone can be lazy, it’s easy, and coincidentally it’s also a system that is easy to abuse and defraud, and coincidentally that just happens to make a lot of perfectly normal human laziness look a lot like deliberate breaking of rules… and we have a system where the decision as to which you are is largely subjective, because there is no real way to get back to the gold standard of verification and checking that we used to have.

I can’t open a paper now without some story of someone in some sort of clerks position abusing their trust and siphoning off tens of thousands of pounds over a period of months of years to fund their gambling or gucci addiction… back in my day you’d have been caught stone cold in 7 days or less, or in the worst case scenario where you didn’t follow *all* the rules of accounting and pre judged that one person was innocent, as happened in the gas monkey story, you’ll wrongly accuse two or three others, and then studiously ignore the near miraculous lack of evidence.

The above anecdote about a bank closing an account in debt for £3k and then simply opening another one, with the person whose name was on these accounts never signing or knowing anything at the time.

I still can’t entirely grasp how a BANK can do this, it’s like cashing a cheque that isn’t signed, it’s EXACTLY like that, which means it is against EVERYTHING that banking stood for.

Accountants signing off on accounts that their junior staff had not personally reconciled 100% of all records and entries on was the same, it was against EVERYTHING that being an accountant stood for.

The BMA (British Medical Association) advocating for no term / time limits on abortions is exactly the same thing, it is against EVERYTHING that being a medical professional stood for.

In closing and entirely off topic, I know there are more than a few petrol heads and engineers that read this blog, so, for you, a 105 year old book, enjoy.

Cyclecar Manual 1912 it’s a 163 Mb PDF scan of the original which sits on my shelf, so it’s well out of copyright..lol

I particularly like the legal bit at the back, just buy your licence from the local council, and po-po can ask to see it, but not to be handed it.. and 20 mph speed limits FTW… lol

2 Comments »

  1. BTW as a follow up to myself, 55 p an hour (before tax) call it 45p after tax, when a pint of beer was 41 p, a packet of 20 fags was 32 p, and a gallon of petrol was 77 p, so my 37.6 hour working week as a fucking just out of school apprentice account clerk earned me £16.75 takehome which was enough to buy ….

    16.75 / 0.41 = 40.8 pints (today at £4 a pint thats £163)

    16.75 / 0.32 = 52 packs of fags (today at £5.50 a pack thats £286)

    16.75 / 0.77 = 21.7 gallons of gas (today at £1.17 a litre thats £116)

    But it was also a fair chunk of a *decent* £4k house, 4000 / 16.75 = 238 weeks or 4.6 years wages.

    And 300 quid for a *good* car (mint 1303 beetle) so 300 / 16.75 = 18 weeks wages

    these were the shit old days of the economy eh…

    Comment by wimminz — July 3, 2017 @ 3:47 pm

  2. yeah, that last bit is the real killer. the way the central banks have destroyed purchasing power WITHIN each nation.

    there’s an old Clark Gable / Barbara Stanwyck movie from 1950 called “To Please A Lady”. interesting only because it’s a movie about back-in-the-day circle track racing … and they mention purses and car prices back then.

    iirc, he could win $5,000 from a single race and could buy a midget car, ready for the green flag, for ~$9,000.

    hell, you can’t even hardly find $5,000 to win anymore and tires for something like a Super Late Model can set you back nearly a grand for four. just an engine can cast you $50,000.

    USD don’t go nearly so far as it used too either.

    Comment by bob k. mando — July 3, 2017 @ 10:47 pm


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