Friday, June 15, 2018

Doing Math

I wrote before about trying to sort out the union local's books.  I don't know what the previous treasurer was doing, but it apparently wasn't math.  At least not math recognizable to me.

Back when I wrote this post, I thought I'd sorted everything out.  I was wrong.  So very wrong.

We send a certain amount of money per member to the state and to the national organizations.  That's the basics.

So, what you do is multiply the number of members, by some numbers for affiliation, insurance, and so forth, and then you send each a check.  The money comes out of the draw that the union pulls from members' bank, credit card, or whatever account each month (with the member's permission, of course).

Seems easy enough, doesn't it.  So, in May, I had help from the state union person who takes care of us, and got us caught up, I thought.  She was incredibly helpful and walked me through filling out the forms.  So I sent off money to the state office and to the national office.

And then I got back this confusing bundle of paperwork from the national office saying we owed more then $500.  But what they'd sent was copies of what I'd sent to catch up, with no explanation.  I called on Monday, and then called again fairly early this morning.  And the accountant I talked to was sort of helpful (and sort of not) and emailed me more useful paperwork.  And then I spent the morning going over my colleague's (the previous treasurer's) math, and lo and behold, we underpaid each month for about a year, and we do, indeed, owe over $500.  It took me most of a morning to check all his math.  (I wrote up an Excel spread sheet to make it easier, but just figuring out what he was writing on the papers that I had copies of was a struggle for me.)

But now I've written that check to make up, and written the May check (things always run about a month behind, which is probably part of the difficulty he had... maybe?), and will mail them off this afternoon.

I bet it's frustrating for real accountants to deal with people like my colleague and I who are trying to keep books but have no training at all.  I've set up a basic excel spread sheet with places for checks and short notes and the math, so hopefully I'll be able to keep track of everything neatly so that the next person who does it will have an easier time taking over.  AND so that I can easily do it now that I THINK I'm actually up to date with absolutely everything!

I had planned to start writing today, so now I'm going to go into another room with a big desk and start doing that.

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