March 16, 2009

Math hysteria

We hired a new accountant to do our taxes this year.

We'll see how he works out, but I'm pretty sure he'll be an upgrade over the CPA we worked with last year, because, well, I wasn't really amused by an accountant who was serious while saying things like this. On the other hand, I had to pause for just a moment at the end of our first visit to New CPA's office.

New CPA's firm validates for parking, which they do by giving you tiny little annoying blue stickers - each worth 12 minutes of parking time - that you're supposed to hand to the parking attendant on the way out of the swanky underground garage. We approached one of New CPA's colleagues, who I assume is also an accountant (although I have to admit I don't know whether he's either certified or public), and asked for enough stickers to cover 45 minutes.

As I've mentioned before, I'm no math wiz. But I think that'd be right around four stickers.

Which is why it was weird when New CPA Colleague handed us eight 12-minute stickers. I may have been imagining it, but I swear he shrugged as if to say, "I can't really count. This should be enough, right?" Again, we'll see how New CPA does, but in the meantime, I'm glad I'm not relying on his coworker's math skills.

That reminds me: Back in 2001, I was working for a small startup company. There were plenty of signs that our business wasn't really going to last for very long, but one indicator I remember most clearly is a conversation I had with our chief financial officer.

The company's founder had just announced that employees would be paid once a month instead of every other week, and the CFO - at least nominally the person in charge of making sure the company could pay its bills - said to me: "Man, I wish we were getting paid biweekly. I have a hard time budgeting my expenses for a month at a time."

Yeah, he said that. Shockingly, the company laid everyone off within about a year before relaunching with a new business model. And, I think, a new CFO.


Daddy Geek Boy said...

So what you're saying is that you're probably going to owe Uncle Sam this year, huh?

Your escalator operator said...

I don't know - that does seem possible, but this could work in either direction!

Laura said...

And then all of the sudden, the root of the financial crisis becomes clear...

Loree said...

We did H&R Block until one year we went and the woman, after working with us for an hour (and who was clearly being prompted to do everything by her computer screen) looked up at us, and in all seriousness asked if we wanted to continue in English or Spanish.

Three years and a couple of accountants later, I have fully embraced TurboTax.

JBhumitra said...

loree - that is so funny - and scary