Accidental IT Pro #10: Plugging The Void

Our accidental IT pro columnist returns! In today's episode, Jason spills the dirt on a mass poaching that left his Sydney office without a sales team or an accounts department. This created a money-haemorrhaging hole in the company that needed to be instantly filled. (Guess who got to be the little Dutch boy?)

Plughole picture from Shutterstock

I'm sorry I was gone for so long.

I was woken by nightmares of you, my die-hard fans, feverishly refreshing the Lifehacker home page and wondering if I was OK. The guilt was overwhelming. But I am alive and well and here to rock your eyeballs with tales of corporate ineptitude once more.

I remember the good old days. The days when being "flat out" was something other people did, and staying later than 5:30 made me physically ill. The reason for my extended absence is because the good old days, "The Youtube Era", are a thing of the past, and it's all because of our bloody Sydney office.

For reasons I won't get into, partly because they're boring and partly because it might jeopardise my secret identity, six months ago our Sydney office had a bit of a coup. It was bloodless, thankfully, although I suspect it was touch and go for a while on that front. The end result was our entire accounts department and every single senior salesperson leaving our company for a competitor.

Now I'm sure many of you know a thing or two about business, but for the less experienced: it's pretty difficult to sell anything when you don't have any salespeople. It also gets pretty tricky to manage the accounts when you don't have an accounts team, but that wasn't my problem.

Or was it? Or WAS it? OR WAS IT?! Spoiler: It was.

I knew the lack of salespeople would be an issue from the beginning. My boss was the type to say yes to a customer if they asked us to relocate their IT infrastructure to Puerto Rico in four days; he was not the type to shrug his shoulders and say goodbye to the non-zero amount of money coming from our Sydney customers.

And so my measly handful of customers I'd spent the better part of a year building a relationship with had almost tripled, and my coffee breaks were a thing of the past.

"That's not so bad", I hear you say, "kids these days need a better work ethic anyway", to which I reply: "Whatever, Grandpa" and skateboard away.

But our accountants were gone too. I was asked to step up to the plate.

Now I'm not completely ignorant of how money works. I know of debits and credits, and I know the dictionary definition of depreciation, but ask me anything more in-depth than that and I'll just start sweating until you leave.

Before you start calling the ATO, I wasn't completely in charge of accounting, but I did have to help out dear old Stephen, an engineer/former accountant, when I could. At first my contribution was limited to asking him how to "cook the books" because I saw it in an episode of Breaking Bad. He didn't appreciate that.

I'm learning to help Stephen where I can, but juggling my old customers and my Sydney customers and accounting is getting the better of me, and my boss seems suspiciously comfortable with not having to pay another person to do the accounting when Stephen and I are doing such a stellar job.

It's exhausting, and I've been able to tell my friends without a hint of irony that I'm "under the pump", but I'm learning to organise my days and prioritise tasks, and I've even mastered the art of the To Do list. My current To Do list has become a thing of beauty. Colour-coded, anxiety-ridden, soul-crushing beauty.

I hope I will surface sooner rather than later to fill you in on my burgeoning life of crime with Stephen.

Wish me luck.


    It's at this point I'd have asked for a big pay rise/bonus or jumped ship myself. Whenever I get asked to do something outside my normal job I ask - What is the benefit to me? - If there isn't a benefit then I don't do it.

    Note# Getting ahead in the business can be perceived as a benefit - but it needs to be realised (made physical). So I always ensure that management are aware that this is business and there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Its called lean resourcing...

    Might I asked why did you not consider hiring temps for accounting?
    Outsourcing also seem to be the flavour of the month.
    And learning to say NO as I'm sure must have been covered here before?

    don't do it, you'll get screwed over and shafted in the end (so to speak)
    you're not qualified.
    And your boss will suffer from memory loss.

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