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June 20, 2014

The alter egos bicker around me like a Chihuahua with a Napoleon complex in English Parliament...

The Plights of a Schizophrenic Accountant

This past weekend I had a rather peculiar experience with outsourcing that I felt obliged to share with this reputable blog and its genteel audience.

As an accountant, I tend to struggle over the ethical and economic consequences of outsourcing jobs to other countries at the expense of American workers. The economist in me (yes,one of my alter-egos) continually whispers succulent words such as “comparative advantage” and “marginal product of labor,” explaining that if another country, whether due to geography or written law, is capable of producing a good or providing a service at a reduced cost, we should support outsourcing. However, my humanitarian side taps into the American conscience and continually asks,

“How can you be so cold and not pay 4% more for that cell phone service charge? People need to make ends meet”

“FOUR PERCENT! That’s higher than the discount rate throughout the nineties. Plus, what about those families in India and Southeast Asia, they need to feed their children too. Might I add that there are more to feed? How can YOU be so cruel?”

“Yep, see how effective unfettered Capitalism is when China has a comparative advantage in condensed milk…”

You get the point. The alter egos bicker around me like a Chihuahua with a Napoleon complex in English Parliament.

Returning to the immediate empiricism,I suffer from BOCD, a common disease among accountants short for Balancing Obsessively Credits and Debits.You see, from birth, we accountants have it ingrained within our minds and singed in our souls that Credits must equal Debits, and the financial statements must be balanced.

This makes us phenomenal brokers of allowances to our siblings and friends as kids but unfortunately can result in BOCD, which permeates into our life the quest for Accounting Nirvana. It is fine when ensuring company health, with a high current ratio (current assets to current liabilities) and plenty of cash.However, in everyday life, BOCD involves making sure everything is balanced. For example, our coworkers and friends must have an even amount of red and black pens and equal length shoe laces. This results in countless restraining orders from harassment claims after trying to help our fellow man and woman with their mismatched sock or stocking length.

It was after I broke one of these restraining orders that I decided I could no longer go on.

I had been going to Accountants Anonymous and was given my one month debit write-off chip to offset the one week AP (Accounts Payable) chip when I broke my sober streak and ran up to someone with a previous complaint, fixing their stockings. This instigated a court summoning and the doom of having to deal with lawyers.

Thus I found a bridge, researched as the perfect suicide spot. You see, this bridge was built when the city budget was balanced. The only bridge high enough with such accolades. These pure, rusting beams where debt free, depreciating away, contributing allocated expenses and providing a tax shield for the city’s income statement. It was the equivalentof a swimmer committing suicide by tying weights to their feet and drowning in the pool where Michael Phelps won his record setting Gold Medal. And swimming pools are very liquid, so I suppose an accountant could also find solace in drowning.

It would be blissful,beneath a starless city sky, immersed in a fluffy cloud of toxic smog. And there were even suicide hotlines I could use to record my death in order to balance the city mortuary logs. I gleefully pulled out my cell phone with its balanced, 50% charged, level (and portable charging device in case of emergencies) and phoned the hotline. A man with a thick Guajarati accent picked up and I immediately knew he was from my beloved India, home to some of the greatest accountants in the industry.

“Hello, my name is Bob how can I help you?”

“Um…yes. Bob? That isn’t a very Indian name?”

“I am not from India.”

“Are you sure? I love India and your legendary accounting–”

“I am from Cleveland, Indiana. I am however, huge Indians fan. Love to watch American Crick–baseball.”


I knew he was lying, but the incident seemed rather comical. Also, at that moment, I thought about designing T-Shirts that said Cleveland and had that awesome, well known picture of Gandhi on it. It might mitigate some of the PC troubles over the name as Gandhi is actually from India and I could make a hefty profit. But back to the phone call.

“I have decided to end my life and I would like to tell someone for recording purposes”

“Did you try turning the machine on and off?”

“I am not quite sure that’s how it works…”

“Sorry sir, wrong manual. Please hold.”

Bollywood music playingin the background.

“Okay, sir, I am now prepared.What is issues of your source-I mean–”

(Cursing in another language, followed by what would later translate to “Why do we outsource our translations to China, what about jobs here in Gujarat?”)

“Okay, okay. I am sorry. Before I begin, you do understand this is not a toll free call and is subject to charges–”

I immediately hung up. My finances were balanced to the penny, with a precisely calculated pension plan to pay off my mortgage and debts that required every cent in my accounts. I would have to plan this suicide better for next time.Well, at least I knew.

Thus, I record this event and hope my fellow accounts know they do not struggle alone. I have also decided to create a Bollywood-like drama titled “Accountants Anonymous” so the world can understand our plight. If anyone is interested in “Accountants Anonymous ,” or my Cleveland Indians T-Shirt design, please contact me. But know that when you make your pitch the movie budget must be balanced and financed in an adequate manner.