By Hardik Rajgor Mar. 30, 2018
Remember that one house in the building that was lit up the entire night during board exams? Those kids have now grown up to be accountants at multinational companies. And the financial year end brings out the worst in them.
March 31 is to accountants what March 24 is to Steve Smith – a day they’d like to forget. Financial year-end is that part of a Hollywood action movie where you have 60 seconds to defuse the nuclear bomb or the world as we know it, will come to an end. An accountant, then, is Tom Cruise who stars in the same movie every year with minor changes. The financial year-end is the board exam of corporate life, and you’re running out of time.
While the calendar year-end is celebrated with food, booze, and drugs, the pomp and party for the financial year-end are restricted to the confines of the accounts department with… files, staplers, and calculators. They chug cups of cutting chai instead of beer; their nicotine is numbers.
People in finance mentally prepare themselves for the dreaded last week of March like Bollywood fans before another terrible song remake. You know it’s coming, you know it’s going to be bad, but there’s nothing you can do about it. For accountants, there’s summer, winter, and horror season. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” was probably written by a chartered accountant.
Accountants have never been known to be a cheerful bunch, but as the financial year draws to a close, they become the breathing embodiment of every Pankaj Udhas song ever. Attempting to crack a joke to lighten the accountant’s mood during these dire times, is like playing with fire. Everyone is one wisecrack away from losing their mental balance, as they try to get the balance sheet right.
Accountants spend more time in office during this week than forced labour in China manufacturing iPhones.
Toward the end of March, men and women whose conversations are restricted to “Hello”, “Good Morning”, “Good Night”, magically transform into panelists on Republic TV. This is what happens when you have to justify numbers on pieces of paper like your life depended on it. Numbers cannot be messed with after March 31, unless of course you’re Punjab National Bank or Ramalinga Raju.
Hanger takes over. One-hour lunch breaks are cut down to five-minute snacks at the desk, and the only dressing an accountant can afford to spend time on, is window dressing of financial statements. Debts recovery may be contingent but the health liability is real. Paracetamol and anti-sleeping pills replace Kaju Katri and Gol Papdi as hours and hours are spent staring at Excel formulas and expenditure statements. It is that week of the year when you don’t see sunsets for days, and the only boomerang in your life is home and office.
So spare a thought for all those chaps who’re spending all their time stapled to their desks. Accountants spend more time in office during this week than forced labour in China manufacturing iPhones. In a desperate attempt to ensure assets are recorded at right figures, life itself depreciates. They leave for home during odd hours of the night, when even Google Maps is asleep and refuses to give route suggestions.
Remember that one house in the building that was lit up the entire night during board exams? Those are the kids that grow up to be accountants at multinational companies.
When the day comes to an end, and the date changes to April 1, it’s like that moment in childhood when you were finally done with exams. There is a big sigh of relief but you also know that everything has been frozen and there’s not much you can do about it. And while the exam is over, the paper-checking will begin, as the auditors make their way to office. Unlike childhood, there are no re-exams, second chances, or summer vacations.
Besides, we all know what April 1 is… the day fools rush in.