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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Walking in an accountant's shoes

Walking in an accountant's shoes

Each week, Lift profiles a different job to give readers a better sense of the careers they might choose.
This week it’s the life of a number cruncher..

Many have to travel to the provinces to fulfill their job duties but they still have to report what they have spent money on during their day. There’s only one person that they can hand the receipts as proof of what they have spent their organisation’s money on and that is the accountant. If there is no accountant working then payments will be late and there will be no proof of what the organization has been spending its money on. 

Meng Sothea, a 25 year-old accountant at Khmer Youth Association was surprised to see me arrive in her office without any confirmation. I was assigned to observe an accountant at an NGO.

Moving her eyes from a desktop computer to some receipts, she reaches for her red Casio calculator, totals up the amount indicated on the receipts and types that amount into the computer.

Two years experience of doing this may be the reason she manages to make the calculation and enter the information without even looking at the buttons or keys. I certainly couldn’t do what she does as fast as that.

For 30 minutes Sothea hardly moves from her seat. She spends most of her time recording payments into the computer. She looks as though she’s not really thinking about what she is doing, but all the time her hands are moving fast, recording data into her computer.

After a while Meng Sothea picks up a stack of papers and four envelopes together. One by one she takes the receipt out of envelopes and records data into the computer, after she has done the sums on her calculator.

I was told that in the accountant section almost every day is a hectic day. Meng Sothea claimed that the most hectic period is in between the end and the beginning of each month because all payments and salaries of the staff in all provinces their NGO works in have to be cleared. When people and organizations don’t get paid for their work or services, they start to complain  

“At the end and beginning of the month I have to work overtime till 6 o’clock in the office” said Meng Sothea.

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