Friday, November 11, 2005

The humor and hazards of working for a medical company

The company I work for is in medical manufacturing. We develop systems and devices for ophthalmic and vascular surgery and diagnostics. We even have divisions that manufacture hemasystems for human and veternarian use.

And you'd think being somewhat large in the ophthalmic field we'd have a friggin vision plan! But I digress.

I have nothing to do with any of the manufacturing. I work in the financial end - mainly receivables. I watch the money come in from our sales and investments.

I am also the sweetie who calls various hospitals and doctors for payment when we haven't seen anything for three months. Some customers actually get irrate when I call. One charmer told me "Well, we sent it to your manufacturing site. Can't you trace it?" I responded that if she sent her car payment to a manufacturing facility in East Gibip, would her car loan be on time or would a repo man come a-knockin' on her door in the middle of a left turn? Another person actually told me they pay within a strict guideline of 90 days. I told them that was marvelous except they were 125 days past due so what's their excuse now? I even had the CFO of one hospital tell me he had our check sitting on his desk and didn't feel like sending it to me. "And we're gonna file bankruptcy so how do ya like me now?" and he slammed the phone. I guess he was having a bad day. I get some real winners with lovely attitudes so I have no problem asking for what's owed.

Now if this were person-to-person collections, like asking for money from Ma and Pa Kettle, I'd last three minutes and I'd quit. I'd get to call the girl who has two kids and her hubby just died in a car wreck (or Iraq or whatever) and she can't make the mortgage and the wolves are at her door yadda yadda yadda. That's not for me.

My co-worker in crime, Streats, is payables. She's more popular than I. Everyone wants money. No one wants to pay. So her phone rings off the hook everyday while mine sits very quiet. I make some people call my line to assure it's actually working. But Streats? She's the winner of the popularity contest around here.

And Streats job is much more interesting than mine. She gets to pay on invoices from vendors. We have the normal ones like shipping companies, phone bills, etc. But there are some real bizarre ones, both on product and terms.

Case in point ...

Streats got an invoice from one of our manufacturing sites for immediate payment to a vendor of circuit boards. In the real world, we give everyone 30 days from invoice date until we pay. This turkey thought he could pre-date his invoices so he would get paid quicker. Little glitch in that theory is he never shhipped anything even thought the invoice gave a shipping and receiving date. Doofus. Her phone call to him was priceless - "Don't put on an invoice 'order was shipped' when it's still sitting on some dock in Singapore. No, I'm not paying it. Fine, put us on credit hold. We're your only customer so now what are you going to do?" That vendor is on his way out.

Then there are the invoices for payment on things I don't care to know we buy. Streats had to call our one site because an invoice came in for payment on harvested eyeballs. However, the shipment came in damaged so the site would only allow half payment. Streats needed confirmation we shipped back the damaged goods. This one was on speaker phone. Our buyer proceeded to tell her about the squished, misshaped, flattened, and lanced pig eyeballs that were in the shipment. "They just came in a big palstic bag with no protective packing so those eyeballs just sloshed and banged around inside the crate." I was still getting over being ill so really didn't need to hear this one. I politely ran out of the office with hand over mouth.

Least I talk about the employee reimbursements Streats gets to view. Now I won't talk about our own employees so I'll tell about one reimbursement Streats had to do from another comapany she was worked for. The employee was a salesperson and he was at a convention in Las Vegas. You can already see where this one is going. It was a huge one week convention and she was getting lots of expense reports for rather high dollar amounts. A lot of the employees tried to slip a few smaller things by her to get paid (like a dozen donuts or lunch on receipts dated before or after the convention) figuring she'd have so many reports she'd just rubber stamp them all. But she caught all of these nickel-and-dime pitance receipts and rejected each of them. One guy in particular seriously put on his report four bills at $300 each for "drinks" at one club ("drinks" was handwritten on each of the credit card receipts). He designated the expense "client entertainment". Well, Streats thought it kind of odd that the bills were $300 a pop and they were all timed and dated within hours of each other. So Streats contacted the "restaurant" for clarification. The restaurant turned out to be one of Las Vegas' finer gentlemen's clubs and the bills were for lapdances! And no, it wasn't paid and yes, the dope was now out $1,200.

Whoever thought accounting was dull was probably right but at least here we can find some humor in it. Accounting - it's not just a job, it's an adve ... no, it's a job.

1 comment:

Rowan said...

I totally know where you are coming from -- I too work in accounting. Can you believe some of the stories that you hear? Ridiculous and I bet most people have no idea till sitting in an a/r & a/p office how many liars there are in the world. I do both, so I'm pretty lucky that Mostly large accounts, very few ma and pa shops...thank god, I HATE going after contractors, they never have the funds to pay.

I liked your eyeball story there. Disgusting. All the more grosser? Your coworker there going on as if this is an ordinary occurence. I can only imagine. Nothing grosses me out like eyeballs do.