Accountants will agree that it’s all fun and games until auditors come knocking. A day with them is what accountants dread for, in an entire year. They scare the shit out of you. Their demeanor is akin to that of a parent scrutinizing a report card of their standard five average performing kid. If there are times accountants cut weight or suddenly ‘fall sick’ avoiding the office is during audit time. Emails from auditors not only intimidate but also threaten, reading between the lines. Their emails will creep quietly and lie on your inbox for 5 – 10 minutes only to bite hard, your damn face the moment you click on Microsoft Outlook. What they will leave behind is a trace of receding hairlines or white hair sprouting on your ‘bald-vulnerable head’, even before you hit 30 or impregnate a lady. No pun intended.
To start with, they will send a list of items they expect to be kept ready beforehand. That email will go like;
Subject to the scheduled audit of company X for the financial year ending (say 2014) to commence on (insert a date), we kindly request you to prepare the following before then, as attached below. (A trail of like a million items will be listed in a word document from logbooks, original bank statements, lease agreements, title deeds, I – Tax returns and their stamped bank payment slips to payrolls etc.)
The email will be brief, authoritative, and cold. Poking and putting you on the hot seat. In other words, you as an accountant will be tasty meat ready to be ravaged, ‘dismantled’ and ‘feasted’ by hungry auditors keen to find mistakes, assumptions and irregularities in your course of work. From the very minute you will read that email, the next one week or so will be yours to run all over the office, ransacking through tired and dusty files, pulling and pushing cabinet drawers and begging misplaced crucial documents to show up for a hefty reward. It will be your week to do the ‘final audit’ of your work before the big kahunas land and update on their social media platforms; #OutoftownAudit. They will have bid goodbye to their clinging girlfriends or two-year-old sweet dolls and be like; “Daddy will be back in 5 days.”
I week later they will spend a night in a town near you. Haha. They will have called you at 4:31pm to confirm they will be in your reception area at 8:03 am the following day. That will cause shivers around your belly or a random heartburn. You will smell hell coming your way to skin you alive. Come to the D-day on a chilly Tuesday morning, your boss will call you to his office and introduce you to Chiranjeev Khan and Simon. Pulling faces that will look eager to tear you into pieces, they will give you a subtle smile. They will have worn unironed T-shirts and fitting jeans. (They work for a mhindi audit firm in the heart of Westlands – Nairobi.) You know of these audit firms with weird mhindi names. As your boss tries to break the ice with them, their fingers will be hitting hard the keyboards with their heads bogged down at their laptops hardly bothering to give your boss or a poor you, any technical glance.
The next two days will be your longest days alive. Seated on a roundtable, everyone busy on their laptops, sipping coffee every now and then absent-mindedly, with files littered all over, this will be marked by; explaining of transactions, justifying figures, presenting supporting documents, searching for emails that resulted to some of your decisions, printing stuff, combing through documents in your computer, hurriedly noting down important information and more of explaining. These will be the days you will return home in the evening with a sweaty shirt, weary red eyes, unkempt hair and fatigued legs. In an auditor’s world, every shilling must be accounted for, transactions scrutinized and books dissected to unearth and sift the truth. Astute auditors must find mistakes. In any case, that’s what they are paid to do. They will cut you into size with their inquisitiveness and milk as much information from your unwilling mouth. To them, information is their weapon. The much they amass the better for their ‘battle’ with you.
At the end of it all, your mediocrity will be exposed. You’ll be frog-marched to your boss and if he is also part of the scam, the whole accounting department and the management will be whipped to the directors to report your shoddy work and dealings. This does not happen literally but through emails copied to like a dozen people of individuals who call the shots in your organization. This may also happen through boardroom meetings that go ahead to strip out any integrity in you, leaving behind a mere skeleton of you. If all this does not yield much and probably due to you not co-operating much, auditors still have one last bullet of releasing a damning report in what they call in the financial world, Qualified Report. This alone can cost the future of your company.
Any lady that commits her life to an accountant must be made to understand the consequences. That, as women have their time of the month, so do accountants though annually. When hell breaks loose and come crumbling down on their lives. When anger, resentment, pain, fear and anxiety converge in one place to hold their annual AGM, in your life!. These are the days that accountants struggle to tie a tie, leave a well-prepared cup of tea halfway done, and hit a motorist’s side mirror before making their way to the office. In and around this time, they will drag their office work to their bedroom away from the TV and playful kids. These poor things will gaze at their laptops, exporting reports and dissecting them further just before dinner gets ready. The least the likes of Kageshi and her fellow partners committed to chaps in the accounting field can do is to have a health insurance for their families. You are never too sure.
Auditors are called to be objective in their course of work. Not to be compromised or seen to cut deals with their clients. They are key instruments towards ensuring integrity and professionalism in the fiscal world is cultivated. Incredible accountants on the other hand, combined with sound management do not have much push and pull with auditors. In the end, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
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