Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another month gone by...

We have spent the last week trying to get an end of year report completed for Companies House in the UK. Hopefully by the end of next week [when she returns] it will be complete!

One big task we have completed is a complete 'asset register' - that's a list of all the things we own for the non-accountants amongst us. Every year it has been a bit of a nightmare - we get given things, we buy things and we scrap things. Now of course those of us who work here know which thing is 'SATA 300 Gbyte Hard Disk' or a '4x4 812 filter' but financial whizz kids don't and so there has always been a difficulty correlating them. OK, so some of them have little value as far as the accounts are concerned, but they do have value as far as replacing them... so all the things we have around the place have to be listed for calculating the insurance value.

Well... to cut a long story short we have upgraded what we do by attaching a 'asset register number' to each and every significant thing around the office. This means that we can look at a chair with a label that says it is 'item 386' and know on the list what it is and how much it is worth from an accounting point of view and how much it is insured for, or a server... or a 'SATA 300 Gbyte Hard Disk'. It didn't take too long but it will allow us to grow in the future.

I started this company about 8 years ago from a borrowed office [I was caretaker while the owners were away] and a broken laptop [if you can get it to work you can have it]. When I started my aim had been to be 'equipment light' - have as little as possible/necessary since I'd seen the headaches of owning too many things from other companies. Now looking at the asset register I realise that God seems to have had other ideas - there are things all over the place... hundreds of them... I'm amazed and what we have here. Within the last year we have been given loads of pieces of equipment... and taken over responsibility for distributing loads of DVDs since another company closed down.

Our internal auditor looked at the 'to do' list on the whiteboard just as we were about to leave the office and asked how many were still needing to be done. Sadly I could only wipe one of this long list off the board. One item illustrates how frustrating things can get at times - when we first started here the company didn't exist, so everything was in my name, bank accounts, lease, utilities, domain registrations etc. Now we are trying to unwind all that and make it all in the name of the company. Not easy... so I write emails, I fill in forms, I phone and so on. Some I need others for... like the utilities have to be done with the accountant from another company and me at the electricity company at the same time... and then all the emails, forms and phone calls.

One of the things that got into this state were the bank account statements for the organisation. It took ages [emails, forms, phone calls etc] to eventually get access to the online banking and when we did I found that I could only look at the last 45 days record of transactions. So I talk to the bank [see the various blog entries about how bad banks are] well when I say talk I mean I write emails, fill in forms, phone them [quite a few times] eventually... eventually... they said last Tuesday they could send me copies of all the statements. They would be 'sent out today, but the postal service take 7-10 days to deliver them' Really? I thought first class mail was overnight! No, for sure it will take longer than that 'definitely they will be posted today, its just the postal service that takes so long'. We need those statements to complete the end of year accounts.

One the good side, we [Peter and I] had been chasing a problem with email security and it appears that we cracked it this afternoon...

Next week a couple of couples [that's 4 people] are coming out from the UK to do some maintenance work at the office. They are staying at the office guest flat. There is repair work to be done in the bathroom, to the alarm system... basically all around there are little repair jobs that they will be doing.

And... the following Tuesday a new family from the USA will join us. David will be taking over much of the technical support for the servers! They have 3 kids and its the first time living abroad for them. It will be a big step.

And finally... Our administrator has retired now in preparation for the family moving back to the UK. So we have no administrator. She has done huge amount of work. We really really need an administrator. A couple who are early retired came out from the UK to see what it is like out here [and to have a holiday] - they are pretty experienced in finance and administration so could be ideal. Their comment was 'well... nothing we have seen has put us off...' Also a friend of mine [we sail together] said his wife might be interested in helping with the admin. So... well... we need someone urgently and one comment our past administrator made was that she felt the administrator needed some accounting skills.

That's all for now.