Author Topic: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered  (Read 11093 times)

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Little Girl Blue

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #60 on: August 31, 2013, 01:52:17 AM »

Honestly OP even though your boss does not want you to fill out a timesheet, I'm pretty sure you have to do so.  Most non-profits go through an audit process on a regular basis.  Not having any record of the hours you work will not only bite your company on the behind but you as well.

Do you have professional certifications associated with the job (ie, are you a certified accountant, or something like that?) If so, you could be putting your professional reputation in jeopardy.

FWIW, I had the timesheet doesn't match the hours situation once, but I was working for a high level federal government agency, was formally a salaried employee with benefits, and and the time sheet was intended more to keep track of which grants various parts of your salary was charged to. And we *always* worked more that 40 hours a week (normal in the field).


I majored in English at college and was initially hired to as an assistant.  Then the woman who was doing our accounting tasks moved away and was asked to take over.  I had no prior accounting experience and the previous accountant left without training me.  My boss had done some of the accounting previously and trained me on some of my tasks, the rest I picked up myself with the help of the internet.  Our auditor takes care of the fiddly technical accounting tasks and files the necessary tax forms for us, so I only enter the receipts and expenses to the appropriate events based on my boss' directions and reconcile the accounts at the end of the month.  I think if I'd had formal training or professional certification I would have been able to argue for better practices because I could have based my concerns on more than just feeling uncomfortable and some internet research. 

FWIW, our auditor recently told the organization's treasurer that our books looked better than they ever have, and we had a clean audit because I was very careful in keeping track of the money that came and went and made sure that everything squared in the end.  I'm painfully aware that having this much money not accounted for is a serious problem, which is part of the reason I was upset and anxious.  If the circumstances hadn't involved being dragged away from dealing with problems with our cash receipts I wouldn't have been frustrated enough to let my irritation show, and my boss wouldn't have had a reason to make me tell her why I was bothered by Betty's request.


Same with the hours - you are formally an hourly employee, but she won't let you fill out the time sheet correctly, and deliberately makes you fudge the numbers. If this isn't sanctioned by the higher ups who are paying your salaries, this could get you into a lot of trouble.

OP Your organization is heading for a major problem.  The US Dept of Labor frowns heavily on this type of employment behavior.  I'm paranoid about it because libraries have been fined $$$ over this type of practice.

An auditor will also have a melt down over the lack of safe guards against fraud. 

This is something I've been worrying about but I'm not sure who to address my concerns to.  I'd bring the problem up to someone on the board of directors, but they aren't readily available to me and I'm not sure how to bring it up as they've worked with my boss for years and think she's the soul of charity.  I don't want to talk to our auditor because at this stage I feel like that's a little bit of overkill.  Either way, if I go over her head I have a feeling that I would be more likely to get reprimanded or fired than her.

Last year I filled out time sheets diligently, and everything was very comfortable.  This year, my boss more or less told me "Oh, you  don't have to worry about that anymore. We're going to treat you like you're salaried.  We'll just put the number in later.  We're working forty hours a week anyway."

I went on filling out time sheets anyway and just sticking them in a folder in my desk because we had just finished our audit, which had drilled into me the importance of good record keeping, but my boss was so persistent in telling me not to and that I didn't have to that I got the feeling it was offending her in some way and let it lapse to keep the peace.  I do quietly log the total weekly hours I work on my computer because I want to have something to back up my numbers when I fill out more detailed sheets in preparation for the annual audit next January.

All the stress and drama aside, if my boss wasn't so bent on making things unpleasant and finding ways to suggest that she's punishing me, I'd be relieved because I'm being allowed to keep the records I've always wanted to keep anyway and not being pushed into accepting favors that I'm entirely comfortable with.



Oh!  So in case anyone wants to know what happened to the project that started this whole mess, Betty never came into the office to pick up her map.  She ended up getting a whole pile from somewhere else.  So not only was the project not urgent, it wasn't even necessary.  It was sort of comforting to see my boss give the phone murder eyes instead of me when Betty called and told her. 

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #61 on: August 31, 2013, 05:02:20 AM »


Last year I filled out time sheets diligently, and everything was very comfortable.  This year, my boss more or less told me "Oh, you  don't have to worry about that anymore. We're going to treat you like you're salaried.  We'll just put the number in later.  We're working forty hours a week anyway."
 

It gets dodgier and dodgier!

OP, did you sign an actual contract before you took this job? If so, check the conditions. If it says you're employed on an hourly basis, that's what you should be getting paid for. If you're working in excess of 40 hours a week, you jolly well ought to be getting paid for it!

In a way, it's good your boss has gone back to the timesheets. Keep on filling them out ACCURATELY! Don't put 40 hours, if you've worked 50.

camlan

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #62 on: August 31, 2013, 09:25:15 AM »
If you are hourly and work in the US, you are supposed to get paid overtime for those hours over 40 hours a week. I'm sure your boss thinks she is being nice to you by paying you for a 40 hour week when you don't work one, but you may still be losing money that you have rightfully earned.

I don't want to get this thread closed by discussing legal stuff. I strongly recommend that you look into this. One place to start is:http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm. Also here:http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/index.htm

I am not an accountant. But the business practices in your agency, as you have reported them, are concerning, even to me.

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TootsNYC

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #63 on: August 31, 2013, 10:51:27 AM »
If you are hourly and work in the US, you are supposed to get paid overtime for those hours over 40 hours a week. I'm sure your boss thinks she is being nice to you by paying you for a 40 hour week when you don't work one, but you may still be losing money that you have rightfully earned.

I don't want to get this thread closed by discussing legal stuff. I strongly recommend that you look into this. One place to start is:http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm. Also here:http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/index.htm

I am not an accountant. But the business practices in your agency, as you have reported them, are concerning, even to me.

Yes--and you are NOT supposed to slide 5 hours from Week 1 to Week 4. That's not the point of overtime pay. The point of overtime pay is to compensate you for the damage done to your life in Week 1 by working such a large number of hours.

I would *never, never, never* do that to the hourly people I employ (and I employ a ton of them!!)

I will do it to a staffer, because it's part of the expectation. It's not just that I -do- pay them for the hours they -don't- work in Week 4. But staffers get benefits, and they get the professional credibility that comes with a full-time job. They get paid vacations.

I think you should also start *taking control of* things like "this is how I want us to record the money at the event"--step up and take charge.

You don't need to say "I read it on the Internet." It's OK to say, "I'm not comfortable with this--we need to document everything--you're taking cash out of the drawer? Here's a sticky note, write down how much you took, what it's for, and initial & date it, please--then bring me back the receipt so I can staple it on."   

(before the next event, prep for that sort of thing by including a set of post-its, or a notebook, and a pen, and a stapler, and an envelope labeled "receipts from the event." And maybe even about $200 to go into that envelope, given to your boss, with her initials on the outside where you've written: "for boss, day-of spending: $200." That would keep the confusion about what SHE does away from the larger amount of money that's receipts of the day.)

[as for discounted tickets--can you get a hole punch with a dot catcher for everyone selling, and they punch the discounted tickets, and you count the dots? Maybe too fiddly]

   There are lots of reasons you can give for insisting on this sort of simply, basic accounting-of-money: "It takes us so long to sort it out later"; "it will make the auditor's job SO much easier"; "it'll be hard to remember exactly what we did when we're settling up later."   If you get resistance, then you can say, "I have to put my name behind any of the reports we file with the auditor, so please do this my way."

AND...think what you'll learn, and how much more powerful you'll be at your next interview if you can say, "I instituted clearer record-keeping by figuring out what the most common sorts of carelessness was and setting up procedures to keep them under control. I created a 'receipts during the event' kit, and I started setting up the two cash drawers the day ahead. I found a way to keep track of which tickets were sold at a discount and which weren't."

And the next time Boss asks you to stop doing something to help Betty, stall. Say, "I'd really like to finish this thing I'm on--I find it hard to focus, and I'd like to stick with this."

Also, your boss may not be a crook, but she may know that she's handling the money a bit cavalierly, and she's defensive.

She's also defensive because she knows you're right about Betty. I had something similar happen; one of my staffers said, "that shouldn't be our work," even though I'd just pretty much volunteered us. At my OLD job, it *would* be our work, so I didn't stop to think about the bigger divides between departments. I didn't really like how it felt to have him question my decision. I felt really defensive. But he was right. (And I would still volunteer us to help, since we had spare time.)

So, since she was already feeling defensive over the money thing, add in the Betty thing, and that was her mindset. And as we've all heard, the best defense is a good offense.

I agree that no matter how nice she *seems*, she isn't a grownup. And she hasn't figured out how to be "business"--she only knows "social."

Kiara

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #64 on: August 31, 2013, 11:46:14 AM »
Honestly OP even though your boss does not want you to fill out a timesheet, I'm pretty sure you have to do so.  Most non-profits go through an audit process on a regular basis.  Not having any record of the hours you work will not only bite your company on the behind but you as well.  Being unbalanced by $200 is not ok in any industry.    Those in the finance industry can explain it better than I can.

From the outside looking in, this non-profit is mismanaged and disorganized.  And while you and your boss may be honest, the disorganization that is present will make it very easy for someone who is dishonest to take advantage of organization and possibly cause a lot of trouble.

Simply put, yes.  I help manage a grant for a healthcare firm, and we have to tie everything out to the penny for grant accounting, complete with ALL backup documents there if the auditors want them.  I'd wager nonprofit is very similar.  This is Not Good.

Talk to the auditor.  This could rapidly become a compliance issue, and IMO, you HAVE to tell them.

TootsNYC

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #65 on: August 31, 2013, 01:03:52 PM »
If you decide to talk to the auditor, you can present it as you asking for their advice in order to make things ready for them. "I want to give you another good audit, so in this situation, with this $200, what should I do? I'm not a bookkeeper, so I'm coming to you since you're the expert." You're just asking because you want to be helpful.

artk2002

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #66 on: August 31, 2013, 01:08:18 PM »
Honestly OP even though your boss does not want you to fill out a timesheet, I'm pretty sure you have to do so.  Most non-profits go through an audit process on a regular basis.  Not having any record of the hours you work will not only bite your company on the behind but you as well.  Being unbalanced by $200 is not ok in any industry.    Those in the finance industry can explain it better than I can.

From the outside looking in, this non-profit is mismanaged and disorganized.  And while you and your boss may be honest, the disorganization that is present will make it very easy for someone who is dishonest to take advantage of organization and possibly cause a lot of trouble.

POD

OP Your organization is heading for a major problem.  The US Dept of Labor frowns heavily on this type of employment behavior.  I'm paranoid about it because libraries have been fined $$$ over this type of practice.

An auditor will also have a melt down over the lack of safe guards against fraud. 

You of course are deserving of being treated with dignity.  For some reason I've found those in non-profit land don't seem to understand this.

I agree, this is very, very bad news. I'm not a labor attorney, but OP sounds to me like a non-exempt employee. At least enough to me that she should consult with a labor attorney and/or the Department of Labor. Treating a non-exempt employee (hourly) like an exempt employee (salaried) is a serious problem. Companies get fined all the time for that.

The lack of financial controls is also a big red flag. OP, you could easily end up being thrown under the bus if there is an audit. As in, accused of stealing money and having no way to prove that you didn't. Get yourself out of there as soon as you possibly can.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Little Girl Blue

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #67 on: August 31, 2013, 01:23:05 PM »
If you are hourly and work in the US, you are supposed to get paid overtime for those hours over 40 hours a week. I'm sure your boss thinks she is being nice to you by paying you for a 40 hour week when you don't work one, but you may still be losing money that you have rightfully earned.

I don't want to get this thread closed by discussing legal stuff. I strongly recommend that you look into this. One place to start is:http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm. Also here:http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/index.htm

I am not an accountant. But the business practices in your agency, as you have reported them, are concerning, even to me.

Thank you for the link.  It's very helpful.  Our organization doesn't quite meet the annual volume test requirements, but it's good to have the information.  I'm usually a very dedicated internet researcher when I have a question about something I have no experience with, but in this case I took my boss at her word that it was okay even though I wasn't entirely sold on the idea.  At this point, even if I had checked into it I don't know how I would have found a way to broach the matter of noncompliance without putting myself in a situation very much like I find myself now.

Quote
There are lots of reasons you can give for insisting on this sort of simply, basic accounting-of-money: "It takes us so long to sort it out later"; "it will make the auditor's job SO much easier"; "it'll be hard to remember exactly what we did when we're settling up later."   If you get resistance, then you can say, "I have to put my name behind any of the reports we file with the auditor, so please do this my way."

TootsNYC (and anyone who might have advice) do you have a recommendation for dealing with her when she takes my discomfort and preference for more accurate practices personally?  I've tried more or less telling her "it's not you, it's me - this is what makes me comfortable" but I think she thought I was trying to say that I think that I'm more moral or ethical than her even though that's not what I meant and I was trying to be careful not to imply that.   

This past week especially I've been seeing her demonstrate an almost magical ability to turn even the most innocuous statements into something they're not, to the point that my agreement that we probably didn't need such an expensive cellphone plan annoyed her.  I suspect this is because she was saying it to punish me for disagreeing with her before and it bothered her that I wasn't suitably distraught over the suggestion.  I was just agreeing because she's correct, based on current and likely future usage, we don't need such an expensive plan and it would be more responsible to scale back when the opportunity arises.  Similarly, cheerful acceptance of her request to begin documenting my hours seems to have made her think I was agreeing just to spite her efforts to punish me.  Really I'm just relieved, but I can't tell her that because it will only make her mad by reminding her that she's just making me do what I asked to be allowed to do in the first place.

Some posters have suggested that I start looking for a new job, and to be honest if I didn't otherwise like my job, I *would* quietly start looking for some other employment. I believe in the work my organization does though and I genuinely feel good about being a part of improving it.  I don't think the organization and the people we serve would be better off if I left, and I want to find a way to deal with my boss because of that. 

She's also determined to retire in a couple of years, so if I can put up with the drama for a little while longer and manage to get things running efficiently I will either be in a good position to take over for her, or I will have the opportunity to start fresh with a new boss in her position that will (hopefully) be more professional. 

veronaz

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #68 on: August 31, 2013, 01:29:59 PM »
One never, ever really knows what someone else might do under certain circumstances.

About 10 yrs ago I worked with (not for) one of the nicest guys I’ve known……a real teddy bear, give you the shirt off his back, had a beautiful family, went to church every Sunday, hard worker.  I moved on.  A few years ago I saw a story on the local news that made my jaw drop.  Oh, noooooo. It had to be a mistake.  I made a few phone calls.  Fast forward………as I type this post he is sitting in prison for embezzlement, forgery, and money laundering.

Quote
Get yourself out of there as soon as you possibly can.

This.


« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 01:34:15 PM by veronaz »

TootsNYC

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #69 on: August 31, 2013, 01:52:36 PM »


Quote
There are lots of reasons you can give for insisting on this sort of simply, basic accounting-of-money: "It takes us so long to sort it out later"; "it will make the auditor's job SO much easier"; "it'll be hard to remember exactly what we did when we're settling up later."   If you get resistance, then you can say, "I have to put my name behind any of the reports we file with the auditor, so please do this my way."

TootsNYC (and anyone who might have advice) do you have a recommendation for dealing with her when she takes my discomfort and preference for more accurate practices personally?  I've tried more or less telling her "it's not you, it's me - this is what makes me comfortable" but I think she thought I was trying to say that I think that I'm more moral or ethical than her even though that's not what I meant and I was trying to be careful not to imply that.   

. . .

She's also determined to retire in a couple of years, so if I can put up with the drama for a little while longer and manage to get things running efficiently I will either be in a good position to take over for her, or I will have the opportunity to start fresh with a new boss in her position that will (hopefully) be more professional.

My suggestion is to be blissfully ignorant. Just blithely and "semi-stupidly" go right on with your actions--i.e., DO call the accountant; DO tell her that you need her to write down on the "spending money for the event" envelope that she took it. Just nicely, and pleasantly insist. "please, humor me, it makes me so much less stressed when we write it down."

She apparently likes to operate on the "personal" in business situations--so make that work *for* you.  *Do* make it personal to this extent: she'll be doing something nice for you if she accedes to your request. "I'd be glad if you would..." "It will save me SO much time and worry."  Act sad if she doesn't want to do the basics of keeping the money straight at your request. Point out that by not bringing you back a receipt, or not initialling the envelope to indicate that she received the money, she's making your job harder ("I'm afraid I'll have to spend at least 2 hours sorting this all out, and I'm going to be tired. I was hoping to get home smoothly, especially since I came in extra early."). Guilt-trip her with abandon.

And then, do get out in front of the money sort of stuff. Set up procedures, systems, methods for tracking. Make it *easy* to do things right, and in a way that you can track. It's the sort of thing that will make you very valuable to a new boss, if you get one, or will show that you're a good planner with proactive responsibility if you want to make a play for her job should she actually retire.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #70 on: August 31, 2013, 03:16:54 PM »
This is going to sound weird, but you shouldn't take it personally when she takes things personally.  If she wants to be upset that you are trying to be fiscally responsible then let her be upset.  You both are employed by an organization, it is not her personal charity.  Everything that you do should be on behalf of the organization, not to make your boss happy.  Every time she gets upset, you should bring the conversation back around to the organization.

When it comes to the money situation, throw the word auditor around willy nilly.  Heck, throw in the IRS and your local tax collecting authorities under the wheels too.  Remember, you can't control what she does with the money and receipts.  However, you need to make sure that you are scrupulously logging what comes in and what goes out of YOUR HANDS moneywise.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #71 on: August 31, 2013, 09:34:16 PM »
If you decide to talk to the auditor, you can present it as you asking for their advice in order to make things ready for them. "I want to give you another good audit, so in this situation, with this $200, what should I do? I'm not a bookkeeper, so I'm coming to you since you're the expert." You're just asking because you want to be helpful.

Wouldn't it also be a good idea to keep her own time-sheet, and give that to the auditor?

blarg314

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #72 on: August 31, 2013, 10:19:33 PM »
If you are hourly and work in the US, you are supposed to get paid overtime for those hours over 40 hours a week. I'm sure your boss thinks she is being nice to you by paying you for a 40 hour week when you don't work one, but you may still be losing money that you have rightfully earned.

This is a very good point. If you work 60 hours one week, and 20 hours the next as a salaried employee, you get the same pay. And if you're only needed for 30 hours work one week, you still get paid for 40.

If you're hourly, you should get 60 hours of regular pay, and possibly 20 hours of overtime pay - which can be a lot more. If you're going over time working extra hours to do inessential favours for random donors that should be costing the organization extra money, rather than simply causing you extra time.

I would strongly recommend keeping feelers out for new job opportunities even if you're not directly planning on leaving. A few years is a long time, and when you're working for someone incompetent and vindictive, you can quickly find yourself out on your ear, with it being your word against hers.

And I would insist on doing things correctly (time sheets, finances, etc) even if she objects, to CYA if she throws you under the bus.

The fact that Betty didn't need the map may make things worse for you. Your boss just made a fool of herself in front of you - you were right, she was wrong, and you both know it. A reasonable person would calm down, realize that you had a point, and pull back on the habit of dropping everything to cater to Betty's whims. A vindictive person may well take it out on you.