Envelope Project

Friday, February 15, 2008

School's Out

Yesterday I went back to work after two days of tax school. I spent most of the day drafting an explanation for the Mississippi rate case people on why deferred taxes changed by $2.5 Million from September 2006 to September 2007. What's wrong with what I just wrote? Anyone . . . anyone??? First off, it's Mississippi, 2nd, it's $2.5 Million (peanuts) and 3rd, it's obvious that the person asking the question has no idea what deferred taxes are. This is the part I dislike. For most items on a balance sheet, someone can explain why your assets changed or your inventory changed, receivables, accruals, etc. But taxes are an entirely different ballgame. The calculation for deferred taxes in most cases is balance sheet driven. If items on the balance sheet go up or down, the deferred taxes will change also. Deferred taxes are merely a timing issue which means that at some point any increase will be offset by a decrease in the future and any decrease now will be offset by an increase in the future. To explain why the amounts that make up deferred taxes are not the same as the prior year is absurd, but explain away I did. This process was complicated by the fact that on-top adjusted numbers were used in 2006 and actual numbers were reported in 2007. The 2007 numbers should have had the hypothetical 2006 number as its beginning balance instead of the actual number based on the G/L. Sorry for the rant, but I spent an entire day answering the "I need this ASAP" e-mail and since responding ASAP, once again there has been no "thank you". I find it troubling that people operate this way.

Today I was back at Tax School and I was wondering how it came to be that I would be in a room of 250 people listening to lawyers talk about subjects I have no interest in. Don't get me wrong, I like my job; I like what I do, but it's not an easy job and some days I wonder why I ever chose this path. At the time I didn't know that I would eventually find something that I thoroughly enjoy. I only knew that I needed to support myself; I liked accounting and I was good at it. I started as an auditor and one day I came back from vacation, went to pick my mail up at work and the top memo informed me that two of my friends were laid off while I was gone. As I rounded the corner to my cube, one of the tax partners told me she needed to see me in her office immediately. I knew that I was being terminated so I braced myself. But instead she informed me that the tax department was looking for someone who was a CPA and working on his/her Master's degree to come into the tax department. I didn't hesitate and I told her "Yes". In my mind, it was become a tax accountant or be unemployed. Since I was living in Boston at the time, I figured I needed a job to continue living there. The firm I worked for wasn't real good at helping out so on my first tax return EVER I got 90-some review notes. (I wished I'd kept a copy of them to remind myself how far I've come!) I had no idea what I was doing and there was no one there to help me. But I perservered and here we are today so many, many years later and I am the person who will always go beyond the call of duty to help someone else out because I know what it feels like to be flailing and unable to come up for air. And now I've rekindled my love of fabric, sewing and crafting and I want to do more of that and less of the hard hours in the tax world. Soon weedhopper, soon. Until then . . .

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