Sunday, 5 October 2008

It must be the Mathematician in me....

One of my small contributions to the community is to act as auditor for a school fund. This fund collects and distributes money for all the fun, but strictly non-essential, things that junior school children do. So , for example, the money for coaches to take them interesting places and money for interesting visitors come from this fund.

The accounting year for the school fund is the same as the academic year and so the account for Sept 2007 - Aug 2008 has just been finalised and given to me for audit. The lady responsible for keeping the books is diligent and hardworking, but she was swamped by cash from the school fete in July 2008, and the accounts all started to go wrong. Unfortunately, this pressure contributed to a large number of very small mistakes in the books, and it has taken me hours to track them all down and get the books to balance properly. The sad fact is that I have enjoyed doing it. There is something about the fact that the numbers do not add up as they should that drives me on to try and find the cause. Having done a degree in Maths, I know they will if the amounts are recorded and input properly.

I had been at it for several hours when my beloved suggested we walk into the town yesterday afternoon. I didn't really want to go, but I knew I needed a break from the columns of numbers, so I went. A walk in the fresh air - and boy, was it fresh yesterday afternoon - and on my return to the puzzle, I solved it very quickly. So, I can take the accounts back tomorrow and confirm that they are in order. I can also offer up a number of hints to prevent as many errors creeping in next year, or at least providing a means of spotting them, so that they can be fixed earlier.

Perhaps this is what forensic accountants do... I might of liked that as a career, but it's too late now. Anyone want their accounts checking??

By the by, what did we do before we had spreadsheets....?

1 comment:

James Hall said...

They did it all by hand, I believe.