Being an accountant for many years, I have worked with a variety of auditors. Most have been eager to learn from me about the livestock industry, while a few have wanted to teach me a thing or two. At the company where I work, this week begins our annual auditing process. We will test, review, document and walk through almost every aspect of our accounting process between now and the time we release our annual financial reports early next year, and maybe even beyond.
“The Auditors,” as we fondly refer to them, came to town this week for their annual inventory observation. For you non-accounting types, “inventory observation” is when brand new auditors right out of college get to put their education to the test by counting stuff. At this company, that involves counting stuff in barns. So I always tell the auditors that when counting livestock, you count the number of hooves and then divide by 4, and if the result does not come out even, you round-up.
This year, however, the first big test for these new auditors was not counting; their big test was just getting here. If you have ever been to Guymon Oklahoma, then you know that the terrain is flat, there are no trees, and you can literally see for miles. If you get lost here, you will know it. “The Auditors” knew they had made a wrong turn. For those unfamiliar with accounting jargon, “wrong turn” is an auditor’s euphemism for “I’m lost.”
While lost somewhere on a dirt road in the Panhandle of Oklahoma, “The Auditors” drove over a big rock in the middle of the road and blew out a tire. I could not make this stuff up. Believe me.
Retelling of their mishap the Senior Auditor mentioned that there were five lug nuts on the tire, but only three holding the spare. I was sure that difference must be within the acceptable margin of error, but I kept it to myself thinking I might want to use that explanation myself later on in the week. Actually, the number of lug nuts had nothing to do with accounting or inventory observation at all. The reason the Senior Auditor was so keen on the lug nut count is that, as the lead auditor, her role was to hold the lug nuts while the guys changed the tire.
But really, switching left and right around could happen to anyone. Plus, it was actually the GPS that told “The Auditors” to make that mistaken turn. As they might say in the audit world, this “deficiency” goes to the GPS. So let me just add a little friendly advice for all those auditors who have ever gotten lost on their way to a field audit, or who ever turned around their left from right, do not trust the GPS, and…
The debits go by the window, the credits by the door.