Every call I got today was a wrong number, but at least most of the people apologized for misdialing. How is it that I never get a wrong number when I make a call? It's not that I'm better with numbers, because I have a tendency to transpose digits, and sometimes I write different ones than I hear or say.
That's a slight disadvantage for a bookkeeper, by the way, and sometimes it does force me to put in some overtime correcting mistakes. As long as it doesn't cost the company money, I guess I can live with it.
The rash of wrong numbers got so bad today that when the Boss called late this afternoon, I actually told him I was glad to hear his voice. I know, I wasn't really thinking, but I'm pretty sure I meant it at the time. I know I was relieved he called, because he's been on the road this week and I've been collecting messages. The messages I gave him were from yesterday, when a few people did in fact manage to dial the number correctly.
When he told me why he called, I wasn't as thrilled. We got a big check in earlier this week and I was able to pay some heavy bills. Naturally, I paid the ones that came out of the project that generated our check. Some of these weren't even due yet, but when an owner pays us, we pay his bills first.
One of the suppliers I paid called the Boss and asked why we'd paid that one and not some others. What we still owe them is about one-tenth of the amount we just paid, but they got silver in their palms and now they want more.
He tried to explain the situation to them, but I ended up having to talk to them myself. I told them that we pay our bills as we ourselves are paid. We buy material from them to do a job, bill the customer that we do that job for, and pay off their invoice as soon as the customer pays our bill.
It doesn't seem all that mysterious to me, but I think they've hired someone new in their accounts receivable department. If it's someone from a business other than construction, they might not be in the right mindset to grasp the concept. In other businesses, I'm told, you buy stuff and pay for it when the bill comes. Now that's a puzzlement.
I went at it from several angles with these people, but the only thing that got them off the line was when I said I thought we'd be able to pay their other invoices soon. That was all they wanted to hear in the first place. They couldn't care a crumb about the efforts we have to make to collect the money to pay them with, or the delicate balancing act I perform trying to line up receivables with corresponding payables.
All they want to know is that I haven't forgotten them. I should get over my need to educate them, but I really want people to understand my position. I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to avoid paying a bill (at least, not without a good reason). This can make answering these calls a nuisance, even on those days when people know how to dial the phone.