Monday, 27 February 2017

Planning, Meetings, Delivery - Part II

Here is an update on my foray into a new line of business which was outside of my usual lines...

After completing the work a little early of the agreed date, I prepared my distribution /disbursements vouchers with the following information:

  1. Items which were to be returned to the client - listed by category and dealing with the items according to the headings which were listed on the receipt or receiving document which was issued to the client on day 1.
  2. A list of the files which were created with an estimate of the number of pages per file.
  3. Additional information: This covered the disbursements which were made for which I was to receive reimbursement on the day of delivery.
So how did it go overall? The client expressed satisfaction and I think that the following areas covered his feelings:

  1. He  did not have to make two trips as we had previously agreed.
  2. He was able to view his equipment, see that it was in good working condition.
  3. He was also able to view the files which were created on his equipment
  4. He received prints which he had requested a bit later in the week. This reduced his efforts in what probably was a busy week.
How did I feel?
  1. I was happy to be of service.
  2. I got a time out  to reflect and practice some skills.
  3. I realized that I wanted to play with some of his documents and insert images. However that would have made his work more similar to some of my early posts on my blog where my focus was faith, works of art and the practice of faith. So I resisted the urge...
Will I try this type of work again? Yes, There can be a quick turn around, flexibility to deal with things and try things and the work was interesting....

copyright: Jennifer N Bailey

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Records - Development of Knowledge - Feb 25, 2017

Recently I worked at a parish office or presbytery office as most offices of Parishes are housed in the Presbytery  of the Parish, either under the priest's rooms or  adjacent to such.

However back to the essence of the story. I was interested in developing a working knowledge of the software which was used to record the sacramental information on persons who received sacraments in a parish. As luck would have it, after emailing my Curriculum Vitae to about four parishes, (outside of my parish) which were within an easy distance to travel, given the cost and time which would be incurred in getting to and from the parish office, I received a favourable answer from one of the parishes, not easily, but yes, I got a nod of acceptance.

During my  time there, I was exposed to several types of records such as:
  • Leases for cemetery plots,
  • Records on persons who were buried over the years in certain spots or within a family spots. Sacramental records, such as baptism and confirmation.
  • Wedding Registers - capturing sacramental and civil records and
  • Death registers going back to the early 1900's.  Some parishes have been in existence for about 150 years +
In the midst of trying to:
  1. Capture the information on software
  2. Understand the assumptions and consistently apply an approach to recording the sacraments which were administered to persons,
  3. Manage the resources allocated to the project such as:
    • Time - spent per day and over a period,
    • Cost - salary and benefits, information technology costs and operating costs such as electricity,
  4. Yet analyse and identify the possible needs which may not be obvious to us, which would be obvious to a person who has lived in the history of records or who has a different type of knowledge and experience
I had to look at different periods of time as there were/was:
  • Different persons recording the sacraments and information of the parish at different times.
  • Different needs  or requirements  to capture information, due to changes in legislation over the period of time, the knowledge of persons who administered the keeping of the records.
  • A need to link information which may not have been readily understood or which would have stood up  to scrutiny. This linking of information  may be able to be supported by representations which may need to be documented and tracked in its own manner external to the software.
This information in turn may trigger a need to amend the data which is already in the system and even amend the software. Which in turn may create the cycle all over. However given the age of persons now,  we may even be a bit late in the game, given the needs of our adults.

For example, from my personal knowledge and family history, I know that my mother has to have an affidavit as her name is the legal records do not match the name which she carries. Yet  the record bears significance to a point in time which may need understanding and which has its own needs and history, such as where she was born, where she lived when she was baptized and  where she lived prior to her getting married.  That should be something we should be able to have recorded and relied upon as a Catholic and while she is alive.

So when I discover where my mother was baptized, I would like to take in the affidavit, provide a certified copy to that office and  receive a receipt for that document knowing that the document will be retained for future checking and scrutiny and be recorded in each parish's records where a sacrament was administered.

copyright: Jennifer N Bailey

Friday, 24 February 2017

My Note Books and Tracking Things

Currently I use two (2) note books almost every day. One functions almost like a diary or I use it in  place of a diary in that:
  • Most days the times and dates are neatly laid out with the option to either enter things to be done or times which have been booked. Then there is a large space on the page which is used to capture the real things of the day, what happened, or what I needed to remember about the day..
  • Then there are days when I capture what I need to do on the back of an envelope as it  relates to specific do' and then I transfer the information to accomplishments for the day.. Thus on that day, there would be more information being captured to understand what happened today rather than the order of the day..
This is important when I want to savor a "good day" when what may be miniscule to another person is important to me because of the relationship which was involved either one that is building or what it can grow into. When there is something that acted like a positive trigger which I may not want to get into, is captured in the way I document things....

Then there is my "Intellectual Book" where I try to create and document concepts and information to post on Facebook or my blog ""

What is the purpose of the Intellectual Book and how effective is it? There are several purposes to the existence of the Intellectual Book some of which are:
  1. The "Intellectual Book" allows me to have a record of things done and possibly the factors which impact upon my creativity... Thus some times the book can be used to develop my thinking on Intellectual Property, rights or benefits due or break down some of  what may not be apparent in real life. For example if I were to look or develop my thinking on Swiss Miss, the cocoa Mix; here is some of what I think may need to be considered:  Mix - source; Cocoa - source; Sugar - source;  Flavorings - source; Design of the package  exterior - source;  Design of the packages interior - source; concept - mixture add hot water or liquid milk (good quality - Omega) or add cold water  or cold milk not necessarily evaporated milk; distribution; special promotions; impact on other like products such as Cadbury chocolate mix, 3 in 1 Coffee mixes, such as Nescafe, Colcafe and other brands or even single packs of coffee without sugar and milk.
  2.  Expand my creativity...
The book is fairly effective in that it allows me to separate my to do's from my thinking and strategizing.
copyright: Jennifer N Bailey


One of my aunts grew stuff - be it flowers, ground provision, dasheen bush and so forth. She also tended to her trees. She had mango trees  and when mangoes were in season, she would telephone my mother and ask her to come up with us to her home. At the end of the day, we would leave with about two bags of mangoes of different types - a lot of Vere, some Julie, some starch and some Rose...

My aunt also had several  green banana trees or a group of trees here and there... This allowed her to share green bananas with persons she knew and very often there was either curried green banana or boiled green bananas.

Now I find myself looking forward to the growth of bananas, not necessarily the green ones alone, but the ripe ones... I am even more happy when my eggplant tree which has fallen on its side, the only one of six trees which I started with last year and which has  continued to bear "vegetable". I am looking forward to the three little ones which are coming up. The sometime "daily application of peels" has worked miracles in that it allowed several of the flowers to remain on the tree and bear fruit at this time when young trees are scarce for us...

On the other hand, my beans have not sprouted. In despair, I have resorted to soaking some in water to see if they can sprout quickly.. I am hoping to get some potting mix to get them started as I have my toilet paper rolls to hold  the mix and the seeds until they can be placed in the ground... My next stop is to try to get the sorrel seeds started.. I think that may need a miracle....

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Inventory Count, Valuation and Monthly Close Off - Feb 23, 2017

Last month, January 2017, I did an early close off our payments for the month. This consisted of  analyzing the payments  and in our case  adding the amounts spent per category on each page  to arrive at the total of disbursements for the page.

Yes, I have gone back to keeping manual records :)  and sometimes I track several purchases on one page. If I were using an electronic file the process may be slightly different.

P.S. I added a  written summary to capture information relevant to the month such as qualitative and quantitative factors. Now ideally our inventory count  figures,should have been  added to the Summary to enhance the information.  Thus one of my qualitative factors in last month's summary was the absence of an Inventory and valuation of raw materials/ consumables on hand.

Thus this month  given the occurrence of Carnival on the last two days in the month, the plans of persons, the occurrence of the dates as it relates to Wednesdays and weekends I  did a close off shortly after the middle of the month.

Then I did a quick Inventory Count, wrote down a list of items with the quantities purchased, estimates of amounts, then obtained the values of items. Luckily most of our purchases of bulk items occurred in the week prior to the close off and with little amounts being used, the values were either close to the cost or were adjusted slightly. In real terms, two (2) lbs of flour removed from a nine or ten Kilogram bag of flour would not make much difference in the weight or value. It is easier to round up usage to a kilogram so that the 10 kg becomes 9 and the value is decreased by the cost of 1 kg. The same process was used with rice and luckily the oil was not opened. In less than half an hour, the inventory was completed.

Items which were harvested from the garden which had been refrigerated such as cassava, had not been included in the inventory count.

Items I had purchased in prior periods such as the Richmond Valley cocoa which I had bought last year (2016) was not included. Some persons would consider this a slow moving item, which given the time between its purchase and today (the age of an item in accounting) a full provision  of the value would have been necessary. So in dollar terms, these containers of Cocoa would have a nil value (Yes, I have two containers; one larger size with the original contents and one to which I transfer some of the cocoa to use as  the in use container  is emptied.)

Materially from a quantitative point, this is not significant to the inventory count or valuation as the purchase would have been made in another year. From a qualitative point,  this is significant as I can have chocolate cakes  and cocoa drinks as I like. 

Next month, I may do a list of slow moving items, so that I can have some idea as to when I need to replenish these items and I can start budgeting for them, cash wise.

However, the close off may take place on March 24 & 25th, 2017, so that the last week in the month can be used for planning.

Copyright: Jennifer N Bailey

As an Accountant, I may not have  much experience with counting and valuing inventory and given the industries for which Inventory counts are required, one may not be experienced enough to perform or observe counts of every type of Inventory. However it is good to remember the concepts, practice them and keep the skills current.
In my career, I observed a few counts as an auditor and given the size of the company, the preparation for the count and the observation period may take a month or more while in some instances, it can take half an hour. So being prepared mentally and physically is important.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Planning, Meetings and Delivery - Feb 21, 2017

I agreed to undertake some work that was not in my usual line of business. So there I am, the day before the meeting:
  • Note book to take down the information which the "client" will provide.
  • List of questions in writing in the notebook to ask the client.
  • Receipt book as I intend to issue a receipt for the documents which I am accepting and any equipment which I will receive.
Meeting day:

The potential client  came on time after a day of rain falling bucket a drop and my living on a hill so everywhere is damp.

Notes were taken in my notebook; much more than were planned. Discussion over expectations went well.

Receipt was issued for the documents and the equipment which was accepted. Price and payment terms were discussed.

Work in Progress:

I started the work on the day when I received it, partly because I wanted to get into the complexity of the work, see how challenging it would be and because I wanted to make a dent in it.   Night came and I am still at it, partly listening to music from Sunday Carnival in St. James while I work. In one particularly long document, I jump to the end of it and start typing the last page, then I move to the second to last.

By then  I realised that I am slowing down and I have to have a strategy... Either I focus on attaining the goal which is to have  all of the documents completed by the due date or I focus on getting the first set ready for delivery.

 Thus I create another file and start typing another document. Complete  it. Then I create another file and type another document. Complete it. 

I look at my clock and aha I have been at this typing for close to four hours and  I need to stop for the day or rather the night.

On the second day I return to the document which I started the previous day and I complete it.. By now I am looking at pages to complete, thus
  • I create about three files for different pieces of work.. Type up the information
  • Then I look at a pad with documents to type and I am groaning inwardly.. Time to get something to eat... Some of those cookies with oats and peanut butter, protein  which I made on Saturday evening will keep me going....
  • I type a few more pages and I need more food... This time it is potato salad from Sunday... No warming of food, just put it on the plate and have it near enough to you. Side bends come in handy to keep the food from being near to the lap top.
  • This time I start at the bottom of the note pad and work my way forward.. Three documents and I am done...
Then I update one of my copies of the receipt book with each day's activity, so that I know how much I have "earned" per day.

I prepare my "payment voucher" with the information on what I am returning to the client. 

I cross reference the information in my note book with details from the receipt. I now have to enter the details of my payment voucher in my note book when that is completed.

Lessons Learnt
  • A Bible can come in handy as a reference book... Thanks Nick (nephew) for leaving your New Jerusalem Bible, I could not find my copy as I had gotten accustomed to googling stuff and I thought I would not need it. 
    • In typing some of the pages I checked references to see how it was that  I did not know all of those things in the Bible...
    • I realized that Abraham or was it Moses may have had a sense of humor and may have been a kind old man with some amount of wisdom...
  • I realized that I wanted to re read some parts of the Bible as I had focused on the Good News for a long time.
  • Referencing can be learnt in a variety of ways... This can be as simple as identifying a book on  which a  "Reflection is done" just because you know the name of the character or just because you get lucky :)
  • Having your own tools can be great, however sometimes you may need assistance
  • A price can be flexible if you treat the work as something that you will learn from and schedule it for hours outside of the norm.
  • Consider meeting clients on weekends "in regular times" to  receive work.. In that way, you can start it right away and not lose time during your day. This is important during the busy  period of your life.
    • When  there are public holidays either before or after the weekend, then you may need longer delivery dates for work, so that persons are not stressed immediately after the holiday.
  • I can use my accounting and auditing knowledge in other areas of my life... When things get too much for one book, then I can diversify my books into lines of business.
  • I am able to meet due dates. :)
  • I can enjoy work....
copyright Jennifer N Bailey