Monday, 5 February 2018

balancing the books

There was a very thin layer of snow over the garden when I pulled up the bathroom blind this morning.  It covered the lawn, except that the path of inset slabs stood out clearly as dark snow-free rectangles.  At the time I registered that you could see I had just trimmed the grass around the edges, but now I'm wondering why the snow lay on the lawn but melted so quickly on the slabs.  Is it that they retained some warmth from yesterday's sunshine?  Or that snow falling on grass is partially insulated from the warmth in the soil by air?  On mornings when it is just cold enough for a light frost you can see it lying on freshly applied Strulch, which is still fluffy, but not on the older and wetter areas of Strulch that have had time to compact down.

By mid morning all the snow had melted, but I stayed indoors because today was the day I got to grip with the garden club accounts.  When I looked again at the previous treasurer's handwritten ledger I could see exactly what cash transactions there had been in the first couple of weeks of the current year before I took over, and what the opening cash balance had been, and it reconciled with the cash she handed over to me.  I thought it would have to, since she seemed a very competent woman, but the last time I looked at her ledger while suffering from a cold the answer did not leap off the page.

A three monthly statement for the deposit account finally turned up in the post the other day.  As I expected, and hoped because it would explain why I hadn't had one before, the bank only sends one out quarterly.  Monthly printed statements for an account on which there are no transactions other than interest received of approximately five pence would be rather over the top.  Indeed, when I think how keen the high street banks normally are to save money I don't understand why they still provide accounts to small clubs at all.  They must look on it as a kind of PR, a way of demonstrating their social responsibility, because they certainly can't make money out of it.

Armed with the balance on the year end deposit as well as the current account and the year end cash I finally stood a sporting chance of reconciling last year's accounts to the cash at bank.  There had to be a creditor at the year end, and I needed to know what it was so that I didn't count it as an expense in the current year.  After poring through the bank statements again and asking the membership secretary's advice I decided that the balancing item I was looking for was the cost of a visit to a garden whose owners had been very tardy about banking their cheque, and that two other small payments made close to the year end must have fallen through the net and would have to be expensed in the current year.  I was left with an odd two pence, which distressed me since there is no such thing as an odd two pence: it could be a thousand pounds one way and £999.98 the other.  However given I was dealing with a village gardening society it probably wasn't.

I told the Systems Administrator that I'd agreed with the membership secretary to sort the balance sheet out somehow and start from scratch with this year's transactions.  That was what the board of Carillion said, replied the Systems Administrator.

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