May 12, 2015

Horse 1894 - The Mighty Mighty Green Pen of Doom

Let me clue you in on a little secret. If you use blue pen on your documents, accountants will judge you as having the intelligence of a potato. Blue pen is the exclusive domain of school students and tradespeople.
If you use a black pen, accountants will judge you as having the intelligence of a sane person. Black pen is for all the serious people in the world and for everyone who wants to be taken seriously.
Red pen is for teachers who are marking exams, for people who want to correct mistakes in documents and for those people who are diligent enough to manually keep books of accounts and wish to indicate losses.
All other colours for pens are for the creative classes or for students in the first two years of high school; except one colour, which is reserved for the soulless and the most heartless of people... auditors. Audtors get their own pen which only they may use, If anyone else should use an auditor's pen, then the Earth could be knocked off kilter; hurling us all into the sun.
Auditors do not use a blue pen which is amateurish, nor a black pen which is serious, nor a red pen which is instructive nor a purple, pink or orange pen which is childish. Auditors use a green pen which is filled with the horror of a thousand hurricanes and the tears of a million accountants. The Auditor's pen drips with envy and is coloured green as a result.

My name is Auditor, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. 

An audit is basically the same as quality assurance testing. The little QA sticker which you find on electrical gear is one of those things which is easily ignored and most people probably peel it off without giving it a second though. Likewise, the Auditor's Report which appears at the end of a set of financial statements, is also given very little thought by the person who reads them but that Auditor's Report often comes with a lot of pain and torment.
Oh what a thing it is to wield. If you live in a world of black pens and maybe red, having your worked checked by someone with a green pen, holds as much terror as turning in a term paper in school. Instantly you are transformed from a competent professional into the quaking, snivelling seventeen year old you once were; worried that the world is going to open up and swallow you whole but having control of the green pen, having the ability to, at a stroke change someone's destiny, is akin to commanding armies and conquering worlds. Napoleon may have won many many battles and taken control of most of continental Europe by force but I bet that even he, never knew the maddening power of the green pen.
Teddy Roosevelt had a special all-black fountain pen which he used to sign legislation into law, Dwight D Eisenhower used a Parker 51 and Harry S Truman wielded a buck-fifty Esterbrook and even though his desk bore a sign which said "The Buck Stops Here", I wonder how much he would have trembled in front of John Wesley Snyder's green pen. What colour is the back of a Greenback?

When you are given the job of an auditor, you become a watchdog; although not necessarily a bloodhound. Although you are asked to scratch around a bit and maybe even dig a little big deeper, if something has been deliberately buried so well that it can not be found, you can't be reasonably held to account as an auditor if you've failed to find that which was hidden. A dog which has the ability to growl but has no real teeth, can not be expected to bite terribly hard once it finds something. Auditors know this but prefer to keep their secret quiet. When the world is trembling with terror, you don't want to give the game away that your bark is worse than your ineffectual bite.

If you are lucky enough to wield the green pen of eternal torment, the instrument to lay ten thousand souls to waste, then you hold in your hands a power which needs to be controlled. Auditors have the power to bring mere accountants to their knees; to bring frustration where there was calm and to bring on the anger of management. The auditor whilst barking and pointing, indicates failure, noncompliance and error and an auditor who cares not for their fellow kith and kin of the financial world, may inadvertently or perhaps even deliberately cause one of their own to fall. An auditor who marks green crosses everywhere, just might bring the huntsman's axe to fall on the neck of a financial comptroller.
The other side of the coin though is that when you do have a page full of green ticks and everything checks out nicely, you get to bestow upon someone the knowledge that they have achieved a job well done. An unqualified audit report is worth more than spun gold. You can confer upon someone, with mere mortal hands, a nugget of purest Green. Maybe not a nugget, maybe a streak. A streak today, but tomorrow, who knows, or dares to dream... an unqualified audit report is worth the fame and ovation of the people forever.

1 comment:

Robert Sindholt said...

Very funny post. Yellow sound like a better colour to torment making them strain their eyes to read it.