Week 2:
Teacher Created Materials

Norton Fellow in Accounting

Teacher Created Materials | Huntington Beach, California

June 3, 2015

I got a day off on Monday since it was Memorial Day. Yet the whole Accounting Department became much busier since we have unsettled work from Monday. Accounting is annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily – you always have something to be done.

This period is not a special period of the year for Accounting Department – not year-end, not quarter-end, and not beginning of the school year (since I’m working with Teacher Created Materials, a book publishing company, I figured it would be busier during the start of the school year). Therefore, the work I have been doing is not much different from last week. Yet, as I continue to work with Sheila in A/P, I start to recognize what I’m doing more intuitively.

1. The Invoices:

As I assign more codes to invoices and post more invoices to the system, I understand more about problems I might run into:

– Too old invoices: invoices in TCM are mostly to be paid monthly or more often. Sometimes there are invoices from previous months that are not yet paid because of various reasons (the person in charge has not approved yet, information is hard to gather, the invoice is not yet sent). Since we do monthly report, the old invoices will have to be posted and accounted for during the current month.

– Assigning codes to invoices: It’s important to make sure each expense belong to the right department/building/person so the CFO will have a better understanding of the amount of expense for each purpose. Since expenses come from everywhere (Marketing, Materials, Consultant, Office Supplies, etc.), it’s hard to know which expenses are for what purposes. Therefore, assigning codes to some invoices is easy based on the past experience, but to some new invoices or from new vendors that we are unfamiliar with can be a tough job.

The job that turns coffee mocha…
…into two-page information of uploaded invoices.

2. The Inventory:

We have inventory coming into and out of the warehouse everyday, and the Inventory department will keep track of it. Sheila and I have to update and match the data from the expenses (what the company purchases and for what amount of money) and from the Inventory department (what we actually received and have to pay) so we can have the right amount of inventory and expense. It’s sometimes troublesome as well, since lots of issues can occur: lost invoices, lost products, damaged products, unmatched data, and so on.

3. The Manual Work:

As I mentioned before, TCM is a small company with more than 100 employees, so the Accounting Department just has 3 people and most of our work is done manually. A lot of processes are already computerized (with Excel formulas, databases), yet there are many more that can be solved automatically. Throughout the two weeks, I have had some questions in my mind:

– How to do matching faster? I have a paper copy of a list of numbers (about more than 100 numbers) and I want to check if they exist in an Excel file or not. What can I do?

– How to enter invoices faster? Can I receive the digital copy, have a program identify information, code the invoices and then upload the data itself?

I have yet to answer these questions, and yearning to learn more Excel and hopefully more programming.

P.s: Below is the almighty everyone’s favorite ice-cream fridge.

Yes, I can pick any ice cream as my afternoon kick-start.
Yes, I can pick any ice-cream as my afternoon kick-start.

P.s 2: The more I work with the Accounting Department, the more overwhelmed I become by their Excel and computer skills! All the shortcuts and keyboard manipulations make me want to learn more and more.

Dang Professional Headshot

Tom Dang '16

Tom is an Economics & Business major from Hanoi, Vietnam.