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February 10, 2017 - Clayton Rye
It was quite a weekend. There was that football game that went on most of Sunday, even though the actual game didn’t start until the evening. As someone whose interest in sports borders on indifference, it was a game worth watching. And it reinforced my belief that no game is worth watching until the end of the third quarter or the seventh inning. What made my weekend interesting was that I spent it getting ready to turn in the farm income and expenses to the accountants who do our taxes. I took the 12 months worth of reconciliations done on my computer checkbook program and exported the records of dates, check numbers, who the check was written to and amount, plus the category each was assigned and used the data to create a spreadsheet that I e-mailed to the accountant. As I only do it once a year, I have to re-educate myself to export the data as a text file and then import it to the spreadsheet program to use it to turn it into a working spreadsheet. It is not a job I enjoy, but has to be done. I am sure I am not the only who does this procedure so I am not telling something that is unfamiliar with many businesses. The computer does most of the work, thankfully. My reason for listing all these steps to get the information to my accountant is, I like to remind myself, what my uncle did more than 20 years ago to accomplish the same thing. My uncle passed away in 1998 at age 83 and was in charge of the farm to his very end, At tax preparation time, he carried a large brown envelope that had arrived in the mail with paperwork of some kind and instead of throwing the envelope in the waste basket, he used it to put the farm invoices, receipts, and monthly statements. He handed the envelope full of unsorted paper to the accountant. I guess he figured making sense of that paper to fill out the tax forms was their problem. I believe the accounting firm figured that since they were charging by hour for their service, they would sort the papers, fill out tax forms, and charge him accordingly for the required time. I don’t know what the accounting firm charged by the hour and I never heard my uncle complain about their bill, but it sure seems paying an accountant to sort paper into piles of usable information would be an expensive and wasteful use of an accountant’s time. That is why I am grateful for my computer that does the heavy lifting in data storage, sorting, preparation, and presentation. And my time is certainly worth less than that of a tax accountant. After I have the spreadsheet ready for the accountant, then I have time to watch a football game that I am probably not that interested in viewing. But in those last minutes of the fourth quarter, it was a game even a non-sports fan would not want to miss.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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