Published: July 1st 2012July 1st 2012
This week at work, I moved into what my office calls “The Accounting Suite.” I have my own computer and work right next to my manager, the full-time accountant. She is giving me more projects and responsibilities, and I feel like I am truly becoming a valued member of the company.
I am not only learning the ropes of organizing budgets, receipts, and payment schedules, but their application and how to communicate them to others, as well.
On Wednesday, when I began answering the phone and taking messages for my manager and Paul, the part-time accountant, I received an unpleasant phone call from a woman named Sonya. Here is how the conversation played out:
“Is Paul there?”
“I am afraid he will not be in the office until tomorrow. Can I take a message?”
“Maybe you can help me. I was told that our invoice would be paid on Friday, but the money is not in our account. When will we receive it?”
I was completely flustered because I had no idea what invoice she was referring to, so I said, “I am just an intern, so I am really not sure.”
“Is there anyone else I can speak to, then?”
Relieved, I responded, “Yes, let me transfer you.”
My manager then picked up the phone and explained the problem with the online banking system that unfortunately did not allow the payment to go through.
Fast-forward to Thursday morning. Paul is out of the office sick, and my manager had just left to go to the bank. So, there I was - queen of the “Accounting Suite” - and the phone rings…
“Is Paul there?”
“Paul is out of the office sick. Can I take a message?”
“Well, I called yesterday, and you said Paul would be in today. We still have not received money. When will it be coming in?”
“I am just an intern, so I don’t have that information.”
“Can you transfer me to that lady I talked to yesterday?”
My heart is racing. “She has actually left for the bank. Can I get your details and have her call you back?”
Sigh, “Fine.” She urgently recites her phone number and clarifies that her name is Sonya.
I told my manager what had happened, and she called Sonya back.
Recovering from this stressful situation helped me realize how much occurs in a business. There are activities for the business’ mission, but there are also financial activities to back them up. Accountants, especially, have to maintain and organize extensive records of spending and revenues, as well as communicate concerns and questions with others. And most days, my manager does this on her own. I think this is why she told me that she is “happy to have me around.” It has taken time, but I am beginning to grasp why she said it and how much she meant it. Accounting is tough. Period.
As for Sonya, I will keep you posted on any future encounters.