Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jul 16, 2002

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Slanging match

D. Murali

`How can we bank on you?' people ask auditors. `Cash please, so as to keep the money out of record,' they say.

WHEN you want to learn a new language, especially in adulthood, you don't start with `A for apple, B for boy' and so on. The motivation is more need-based and it is not uncommon to find one learning the swear words first. And now, the craze is to pick up choice phrases to pulverise the accountants.

`Bring them to book' is doing its rounds but it is too hackneyed. The affected ones understand this because they have been dealing with books — the main and the subsidiary, cash and bank, first and second. `Make them accountable' is another war cry, a favourite among the politicians who themselves would not like to be accountable. Accountants are also comfortable with such a shout because it has their pet word, account.

`How can we bank on you?' people ask the auditors, and they reply, `Cash please, for that's how we like to be remunerated so as to keep the money out of record.' `Don't you have a soul?' the common man asks, `Sole? No, ours is a firm,' reply the partners.

`Have a CoP, do you?' could be plain question to know if they hold certificate of practice, but they're strangely fleeing.

`I spent too much time with the binders,' rues an audit assistant, `but now we are in a bind.' For somebody who collected too much evidence about too little things, many professionals find it tough to marshal enough evidence to show they had acted wisely. `Adjust,' they are advised, `with reality.'

With every journal and magazine, newspaper and e-zine, talking about the neo-villains in the corporate tragedy `now-showing' the only thing that can go in `narration' is a tale of woes. When `trials' approach, `balance' would be the last thing to go with it. And perhaps bed `sheets' are where they bury their faces, obsessed with `differences' that are beyond `reconciliation'.

`They made too many entries but it's exit time now,' could be a dramatic way of depicting their predicament. `For every transaction there is an equal and opposite reaction,' is the new science law.

`If only their lives were in a file,' rants the anti-Andersen man, `I would have put it in a shredder.'

But accountants are only too clever and too eager to perform the Houdini act. `How?' you could ask them. `Suspense,' they say.

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