I consider myself a fairly intelligent, modern woman. I completed four years of college plus various professional development training courses through my adulthood. I am pretty adept at using modern technology. I use my computer/laptop/mac/iPad/iPhone tools every day.
I manage our family schedules, the care and feeding of those living under this roof, and general home maintenance. And, I am the family accountant. Those who know me may find this last statement fairly surprising — simply because I am not an Accountant kind of person. I love words. I hate math. But for various reasons, for several years now, I am the one who manages and pays the bills in the house. And, for the most part, I’m pretty efficient — things get paid on time, we don’t bounce checks, we still have money left to buy groceries.
However…. here is my big confession. My system for tracking/maintaining and processing the family accounting would send any normal person either into shock or hysterics. Then again, it would take me so long to explain my system to someone else, that they’d be far too confused to even make fun of me. My system is a complex combination of paper bills, a calculator, notes and dates written on envelopes, a spiral notebook, my checkbook, the calendar, a very important little cubey area of the desk, a few file drawers, and, of course, my online bank. Before you guffaw too heartily in my direction, I will say that I do pay all (or, well, at least 90%) of our bills online. I only write checks for unique situations. So I’m not living in the “old days” completely.
When I think about it, I realize that my wacky and confusing system truly is the perfect example of a “word” person’s view of accounting. I think in words and pictures, not numbers. I do my work most clearly and accurately by using old-fashioned paper and pencil. Even at work, if I have to work out a process, proof something, or take notes, I do it on paper. It is just the way I “tick.”
No matter what type of training and education we go through in life, we have to adapt things to a certain extent to who we are, how we operate, how we think. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that there is only so far that I’ll change. I may spend 90% of my work day on the computer, but I still have several paper files and binders on my desk. I may use iPhone Apps and computer software for daily activities, but I still cook using printed recipes from books and magazines. I may appreciate all of the new products and advice I receive from the media and family and friends — but if I have certain tools and systems that work for me, I probably won’t deviate too far from them.
If we all think about the ways we do certain things, we realize they are just inherently part of us. How we fold our laundry, whether or not we rinse plates before they go in the dishwasher, whether or not we pick up a pen or a keyboard to write a note to a friend, how we apply our make-up, and yes — even how we pay our bills. We all have our own ways, our own systems. They are neither right or wrong — they just are.
So, sure, I’ll keep my wacky accounting process in hiding so as not to scare anyone. But I know myself too well after all these years to assume I’ll ever really change it. If my husband ever takes over the bookkeeping for the family, he’ll have use his very own system — he’d never understand or tolerate mine. And more than likely, I’d feel the same about his.