Monday, July 24, 2006

I’ll bet YOU’VE never done this...

I’m an HR manager. For most of my career I’ve had little to do with the finance and accounting side of the companies I’ve worked for after my military service. That changed about a year ago.

The plant where I work was sold by the big company that had just bought it less than 2 years earlier. During their tenure we had extensive corporate support (and oversight) for every function. I reported to a local Plant Manager, but I also took HR direction from a higher-up HR manager at another plant, a division HR chief, and a corporate HR V.P.

Then suddenly our little plant was sold and became its own company headquarters. All that support and oversight disappeared. The division of labor blurred as well, and under our new roles HR took on the responsibility for payroll and benefits accounting. That’s mainly because our finance manager was too busy getting all the bills paid and doing all of the reporting the banks (that had financed the purchase of the business) required.

As time passed, an audit brought the recommendation that someone outside of the department that paid the bills (Finance) should sign the checks. No, there was no suspicion of wrongdoing. But in today’s post-Enron climate of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, and the need to avoid any possibility of financial funny business, somebody thought the HR manager ought to be signing checks and approving wire transfers of money.

Okay by me. It all pays the same, as they say.

Well, today I was asked to approve a wire transfer (like signing a check) for...

(Are you ready?)

Just over $2.7 million!

Zowee! At the stroke of MY pen (actually the click of my mouse, with my little special coded I.D. generator), I sent $2.7 million flowing from our account to that of a big oil company to pay for feedstock to our plant.

You talk about a feeling of power!

(Now, if I can just figure out how to send a few of those wire transfers to MY account in the Bahamas...)


Unknown said...

Well, hell, that trumps my best: picking up the phone, calling Bulgaria and saying "Make it so." (Yes, I used those exact words - because I could!)

Duke_of_Earle said...

Shoot, r.e., I don't know if it "trumps" your words or not. I don't think I've ever used that exact phrase before -- and probably because I couldn't! (Much less to a Bulgarian!)


Karyn Lyndon said...

you da man!

Anonymous said...

That must have been fun to do. One day when you are a famous novelist you will be writing checks or cheques like that all the time. Practice makes perfect so I hope they ask you to do it again.