Thirty years ago I took 1st year accounting at the Alameda Community College. I remember this because a) I was teacher’s pet, and b) I’m not currently having a senior moment. Unfortunately, what I don’t remember are the basics of double-entry accounting. This is because, ordinarily, I’m able to make it through a typical day without having to figure depreciation on the value of fixed assets.
Without evidence to the contrary, I’ve considered myself an accounting genius, lo these many years. Now I’ve come up against my first obstacle to that title: Quickbooks. Armed only with a calculator and false optimism, I set out to conquer the intuitive software alternative to counting on my fingers and toes. When I went to grade school, we learned basic math with wooden blocks and an abacus (I kid you not), so I definitely had my work cut out for me.
Step one: listen to the kindly sounding man as he walked me through the simple tutorial. Step two: take two aspirin and a nap. I haven’t gotten to step three yet. I worked eight years as a trust accountant, I’ve memorized huge portions of the Internal Revenue Code, and I can still do long division. Now I’ve met my match with a program that most children learn in the womb. They’re born with the ability to click a button and amortize long-term liabilities. Gah! Needless to say, the program did not come with wooden blocks.
Like a dog, Quickbooks can smell fear. That’s when it will send you error messages like, “You must enter a customer name when posting a liability, you simpleton.” By the time I enter 5 books and a CD into inventory, I feel like my self-esteem has gone 3 rounds with Mike Tyson. I can’t believe I asked for this kind of humiliation.
Fortunately, if all else fails, I have a fallback position: an accounting cheat sheet, a pad of paper, pencil, and an abacus. I just wish I could find the wooden blocks.