Wednesday, April 13, 2011

That Pesky Gregorian Calendar

I've hired a new Director of Operations and Finance, to allow me to unload the myriad of day to day operational management tasks and let me focus more on our strategic growth. We're still very much in hand-over stage though, so there are lots of wee bits and pieces that make sense for me to finish off. One is the small matter of our credit card statement date.

We run largely paperless, mainly because we're so distributed internationally. A combination of Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners and DropBox and an increasingly honed scanning/naming/filing process makes everything smooth and efficient. Receipts for purchases made on our company credit cards is an example. We've finally converged on the following process.

Each time a purchase is made, paper receipts scanned, and soft receipts are printed to PDF (I'm also experimenting with the iPhone JotNot app as a way of being able to do the scan at the point of purchase). Each receipt is then filed in a DropBox folder that is shared with finance. There is a folder per month -- something like this (simplified for this post):

<path to DropBox>/credit-card/disbursements/<YYYY>-<MM>/

and the file is named something like this:



<date> takes the form YYYY-MM-DD
<amount> takes the form NNNNNN.NN where the part to the left of the decimal is always 6 characters, leading digits being replaced by the "-" character to pad. For example:


The result is that in every monthly folder you get a nice list of receipts, where the dates and amounts all line up. It makes for quick and easy statement reconciliation at the end of each month.

The problem is, one of our credit card companies does not, and now I am told cannot, provide calendar month statements. So there are always going to be receipts at the start of the month and the end of the month that for reconciliation purposes (which is the primary purpose) are in the wrong folder.

As far as I'm aware, they are the only one of our umpteen financial institutions, across four countries and two continents that cannot provide calendar-month statements. Sigh.

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