page header image

Accounting Stories

The Case of the Missing Trucks

It was a simple case of late payment. An automobile transport company could not afford to pay their Worker’s Compensation premium on time. Arrangements needed to be made. A call to the insurance agency was met with a ghastly “NO” and a frightful command to bring all trucks on the I-5 corridor to an immediate halt. “Move them to the side of the road”, howled the bureaucrat or face the demons in the illegal zone. Fear ruled the transport world. A call to their CPA was made (that would be us-the good guys). We immediately called our Congressman. A conference call was placed to create a connection to the realm of the bureaucrat. With great effort and strict warning our Congressman’s staffer used the ancient chant of sanity and warned in a fearful howl.

“Make arrangements, make arrangements, make arrangements…”

It took almost two hours to work the details but arrangements were made with an agreement to pay half the premium on Monday morning 10am and the other half within the month. The staffer warned our transport company to be on time or else the spell would wear off. The cashier’s check was delivered on time and all came back to the world of sanity and good. Thank goodness for magic spells!

Tale of the Undead Taxpayer

“I know she’s real; if you look away you can kind of see her”, cried my new client. “After all, she helps with the cooking and cleaning and takes telephone messages for me all the time. I pay more than half her support and my daughter drives her to the doctor regularly. But we can’t really see her. Can you help?” I put our best staffer on the case. It turns out it was a simple case of government confusion. Mom was issued an identity card but never a real social security number. Therefore, the taxpayer could not take Mom as a dependent as a valid social security card is required. The previous accountant never thought to get a real number for mom. It never was an issue because she lived with the taxpayer for years and had no income. She was never required to file a tax return. Could we take Mom from the land of the undead and make her real? With a few telephone calls to the Social Security Administration and the help of a wonderful government employee, a temporary social security card was issued and thereby we brought her back to the land of the living. Meanwhile, our office filed three years of amended tax returns for our client and shortly a refund of almost $2,000 was issued to the taxpayer. Excellent job to all who enter the undead zone without fear!

Screams From the Deadly Swamp

“Nobody has ever come out alive”, said the owner. “It’s like the swamp eats them alive. Meanwhile, we don’t know if we are profitable and why our cash always seems to disappear.” I grabbed my most trusted pencil along with my favorite calculator and cash flow template and began my investigation. I was scared but “we never let fear stop us” so we entered the swamp and stood straight and true. It was frightful. Accounting reports that made no sense, misposted entries and checks entered incorrectly. Depreciation methods no longer allowed and worst of all…no bank or credit card reconciliations. I wasn’t sure I could go on but I did. With my pencil, I restructured their financial statements to be department based. Now we could see each department separately and document where they were spending. We could construct revenue projections and cash flow statements. With great courage, we could review monthly financial statements and have real manager meetings. No one could hurt us if we stuck it out as a group. As a final act of defiance, our super duper, tax software created a loss carryforward guaranteed to eliminate all corporate taxes for two or three years. We just kept whistling…”the swamp can’t hurt us and we’ve nothing to fear!”