Inventory Control versus Payroll

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Fri Dec 30 14:57:17 EST 2005

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Quoting "brydone at" <brydone at>:

> Hi Derek,
> I see your another major player on the help-line.
> My view about payroll v order/stock/sales system, is that no self
> respecting accountant really wants to work out the number crunching
> payroll duties week in week out, or have to check them week in week out,
> with all the tax records, wage rates, and other maintenance and so on,
> and also like your book-keeping, it's something that you must get right
> without any doubts, as the consequences of wrong calculations, wrong
> payslips and wrong tax returns, reflect rather badly on the care the
> company has for it's employees, and ofcourse on one of the senior
> management of the business, generally one of the people with most
> influence in choice of system, the accountant.
> Another thing, a wrong stock quantity, an outage in stock or an overage
> in stock, well these are all expecteds, even when you do have a system,
> in view of various human errors, and so don't really upset moral if you
> get them wrong, nor do they reflect in the short term on the credibility
> and care of the management for the company, and  so from a point of
> whether you want to keep your sales department and stores department
> happy, over and above yourself, and the personal togetherness of your
> business, as an accountant who had both these kinds of problems nawing
> at him, in partially computerised environments, as well as fully
> computerised environments, at least from an accounting/payroll basis,
> regarding  the choice of what to get involved with straight off, the
> payroll wins hands down in my eyes, also, it just seems to be more of a
> compliment to a book-keeping system, than a sales order/stock management
> system.
> I once started to try and actually get designed with a self-employed
> software analyst, but I left for upward mobility in the job market
> reasons before finishing it, and this was before fully computerised
> acccounting/payroll systems were packaged like they are now, about
> 1974/5 I think,( that obviously goes back some time)an integrated
> costing,stock,production schedule, order, and salesinvoicing system,
> but that was only because I was involved in the costing department at
> that time as assistant to the accountant. My job was in the product cost
> side of things, and as the accountant I was working with at that time
> seemed to want to steer clear of computers, it was the early days then,
> and it was me in charge on a day/day basis of the computer,I decided to
> go down that route before anything else. Also payroll has always been
> mechanised, even before computers, over and above anything else, on
> mechanical machines , they used to have a name I can't remember what
> they were called.
> To me it has always seemed to be simply natural to combine payroll with
> book-keeping and the question as to whether payroll comes before or
> after stock management really doesn't swing with me at all, but then I
> have been an accountant.
> About myself, I may sound as if I've been around the world a few times
> in the history of business management, I haven't actually, I've only
> been as Chief Accountant in three businesses I think, lasting at most 5
> or six years, and the assistant accountant before that, at least that's
> what I called myself, I was doing my ACMA then by correspondence course,
> for about two years, so in total it's about 7-8 years involved with
> computers in one way or another in total. The rest has been in
> accountancy firms doing small company year end accounts, being employed
> in a couple of disastrous self-employment shots, a short period in a
> local authority unit trying to be generate pre-emptive business
> start-ups, tried on several occasions to approach venture capital
> companies for start-up finance on a couple of things, and then I ended
> up out of it around 1988 I think, basically from the burn-out point of
> view, until now. I also did about 5 years in banking three in
> international banking, loan monitoring basically, and I also trained as
> a pilot with BA, the first thing I actually did after school, apart from
> a year working in a toy department in a department store called Jenners,
> in Edinburgh, where I was asked if I wanted to make a career in toys, I
> left school in 1968/9 I think. In the flying, which I did for about a
> year before getting the chop for not being terribly good at it except
> under the hood, which you will know all about if you are working towards
> your CPL, I did about 130 hours on Cherokees, 50 or thereabout doing
> circuit bashing, a bit more than was the norm I think, to try and relax
> me I suspect,I wasn't very confident funnily enough, for an arrogant son
> of a bitch,and about 15 hours on a simulater. It was mind-blowing, the
> experience, the vibration of the plain at take off, the racket, and the
> the fear I had of looking down, however that was another story, I see
> your a flyer yourself.
> There are folk who say I can't hold down a job, or don't try and
> persevere, I'm of the opposite opinion. I'm of the opinion, that just
> like Mozart created genious stuff at a very young age, some are born
> great, some achieve greatness, and some have it thrust upon them, and I
> consider myself in the first category in the business management insight
> sphere, unfortunately, greatness is not always tolerated, especially if
> acknowledging it, could knock a hole in the upward mobility chances of
> your boss, the one who generally has to bring your genius to light in
> team working environments, and that is how I explain my feelings of
> square peggedness, in round holes, of which round holes there are
> several definitions that can be brought into a conversation depending
> upon where your impetus lies at the time.
> That's my philosophy anyway, and further more I am not a person that has
> much ability to deal with things in an oblique fashion for too long, and
> therefore basically, that's really why I suffered a fairly high
> uncomfortability rating with people I worked with, if I ever had to step
> out of my box as the provider of financial information for too long a
> moment.
> Not modest, and not a great team player, except as the captain, that's
> me, but in my view, useful as a person with  insight into the
> environment of business mangement, hence I suppose I ended up going with
> the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, though I was offered
> shortly after flying a job with a London Chartered Accontancy firm to do
> Chartered Accountancy, a qualification that at least in Scotland, had
> more status in those days, but to me it was, and still is just a jumped
> up book-keeping and tax advisor qaulification.
> I hope I have set out the thinking process I at least felt when looking
> at the management environment I was in, concerning the priorities I had
> on my mind when involved with computers in business, and I hope it
> allows you to be clearer on which way you and the others may want to go
> with Gnucash.
> Best regards, and thanks for asking me.
> Douglas


       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL:    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       warlord at MIT.EDU                        PGP key available

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