"Aye, America 'tis a most veritable sight. But hath thou witnessed an accounting month end??" Christopher Columbus, Explorer (1451-1506)
By the time you read this there is a high chance you will be drooling deliriously over the PAGE DOWN key in anticipation of what is coming (our whole keyboard is already swamped just trying to write the stuff!).
Do not be alarmed! This is normal behaviour for alternative accountants.
Yes, for even the most seasoned of bean keepers, merely mentioning the words 'month end' can lead to some serious and sensational salivating.
While the world's top tennis players have their appetites whetted waiting for Wimbledon just once a year, many accountants must endure monthly mouth-waterings in advance of what has become known as the 'finance fortnight' - usually held the week before and immediately after a calendar month end.
Months in advance, holidays will not have been booked, meetings not scheduled and social engagements not pencilled in. Those who contravene this sacred rule risk acquiring the much-loathed label
and being damned for an accounting eternity.
For the uninitiated, this self-inflicted - and soggy - self-sacrifice can seem very strange indeed.
Indeed, untrained eyes and ears can easily overlook this mute monthly marvel. A walk through the finance department at this time can seem like any other, with only a slightly faster than normal rhythmic rap of fingers on calculators breaking the silence.
But how can those new to numbers possibly understand...:
■ the draw of journals?
■ the call of closed ledgers?
■ the allure of arch-lever files?!
■the raw appeal of reconciliations?! or,
■the magnetism of management accounts??!!
Exactly. They can't.
Given the sheer significance of this financial phenomenon to so many accountancy staff, here at the alternative accountant we thought we'd try to find out more!
So we commissioned a leading second-rate market research agency to question a has-to-be-said-limited sample of calendar-crazy finance professionals!
Here's a small selection of their alleged responses to the leading question:
"What is is about accounting month end that you find so appealing?
ACCOUNTING MONTH END SURVEY:
"Arch lever files. Crisp, new arch lever files. Untouched and expectant. Waiting for the insertion of new and naughtily numbered file dividers. Maybe even with the little piece of protective cardboard still firmly held inside. I need to sit down."
Financial Controller, Liverpool
"Aye, it's the anticipation. The not-knowing. Wondering what's been posted to the sundries account....how many items will have cleared down from the GRNI reconciliation...how much mess will need sorting out. Och, I'm all goose-pimply just thinking about it...."
Management Accountant, Edinburgh
"The possibility of an office sleepover. Staring up at the ceiling; listening to the rhythmic churn of the photocopier...in awe contemplating the countless multitude of journals that have been posted and neatly filed over generations in this very office..."