Time and again I have people writing in, especially freshers, asking me for tips to avoid the common pitfalls freshers normally face in the corporate world. Some people have even suggested that I should give due mention to other departments too and not concentrate on HR, Facilities and Sysadmins only. I understand dear friends and apologize for the cruel oversight. And to show you that I mean well, today I shall take you on a tour of one of the most important departments in your organization, a department that is very dear to my heart and where I spend a lot of my time….The Finance Department!
If you are 'financials' challenged...like me, and quicken your pace when you pass the Finance department.... like me, and duck at the sight of the FM... like me and dream of pushing your accountant down the stairs...like me, then this tutorial is just the thing for you.
Given below are some terminologies with their meanings that will make your corporate life much easier and increase your chances of not picking up that gun and opening fire after blocking all exits of the finance department.
Proforma invoice: This is a bill that comes before the actual bill. It is not the actual bill but will be considered as a bill if the bill comes later.
The invoice: The invoice is the actual Bill, which the Proforma Invoice represented. But since it cannot be invoiced before the Proforma invoice it will be invoiced after the Proforma invoice. (see how easy it is no?)
Invoice (another definition): Same as above except for the small difference that it will be misplaced by the finance dept, so that you have to ask the Invoicer to make another Invoice to replace the “Invoice (another definition)”
Debit note: aaarrrghh... err I mean I am yet to delve into this properly. Will do so soon after I have finished by final "Clinical Depression" therapy at NIMHANS.
Debit note (another def): Same as "Invoice (another definition)" Replace 'Invoice" with 'Debit note'.
Cheque: According to a web definition, this is a negotiable instrument instructing your bank to pay your vendor. I am yet to see one. I would love to see one. Perhaps I will see one before I die. I am the eternal optimist.
Funds: An imaginary figure like fairies and elves that do not exist. "We do not have funds” is the motto of the finance department.
Advance: A non-existent word in the dictionary of FM's and Accountants. For academic interest it is half the amount of the Invoice that has to be paid in advance to your vendor (as per agreement that was approved by the FM himself) so that he can start work. People who believe in fairies and elves tend to believe in the existence of "advance" too. They are mostly found in mental institutions, sitting in the Psychiatrist's waiting room...with me.
Take home salary: A 1% amount of the figure promised to you when you got your job.
Income Tax: Very easy to calculate. Just reduce 30% from the 1% amount of the figure promised to you when you got your job.
Bill: A very sacred document that you must guard with your life unless you plan to pay for the amount mentioned in it yourself.
The bill (another definition): Guess you get the drift by now...
PAN No. : A number that you must ensure your Invoicer mentions when he invoices you or you may have to endure "Invoice (another definition)"
Account No.: Ditto as above.
PAN no (another definition): This is 'your' PAN number that you have give once when you join the office but hence forth have to give periodically, like once in two days, as the finance dept has an extremely short memory. In fact they have a very short memory for everything except 'collections'.
Collections: Money you have to claim back from various parties with whom you have undertaken joint marketing initiatives. My FM has very generously given me the option of deducting the same from my salary so that he doesn’t have to harass me and I am free to chase the "collectees" and collect the "collections". Such a nice man!
TDS (Tax Deducted at Source): An amount that will be deducted from the Invoice that will have your Invoicer a nice shade of blue in the face.
Reminders: Something that you do a lot like once every hour, so that "Invoice (another definition)" doesn’t happen.
Accountant: The guy who is mostly responsible for "Invoice (another definition)".
Copying machine: Something you learn to operate with the efficiency of an expert as you spend considerable amount of your time with it, copying Proforma, Invoices, Bills to avoid "Invoice (another definition)”.
Discount: A word that you use for every Invoice you submit for payment. Always remember that the Invoice amount is "after discounts". This makes FM's strangely very happy. Use liberally. If he is in a good mood he may even release your payment in a record-breaking speed of 6789 days. 6788 days if he is in a really really good mood.
FM: A very poor man.
Vendor: A very sad man.
The finance dept: The place to avoid if you have a fully loaded gun in your hands.
The FM's office: A place where you spend a half of your productive hours unproductively.
That’s it folks!! Hope the lesson was useful. Please note by vendors I mean, your event managers, ad agency, gift vendors etc.
Next edition, The HR Department oops I mean “Product Managers”