Books and Bookkeeping

Tax season us upon us again. I dread this time of year; it feels like a final exam for me. But, I also tend to lean the way of getting them in, and done, as soon as possible. It allows me to file 2016 away and the stress is over, and whether the answers are good or bad, either way, I have them, and I’m no longer wondering. My preference in life is words over numbers, actually, most things over numbers. Bookkeeping can be monotonous, I transpose numbers and then wonder why I don’t balance by $0.01. It is time-consuming and frustrating to go looking for that penny. But, in the world of numbers, it has to be done, it can’t just be “close enough.”

Bookkeeping is a definite side step from my usual day-to-day work. But the more I learn about it, work on it, and become familiar with it the less I hate it. It has become a break for me. A time to switch my brain over from creative work to analytical work. The change can be rewarding, I feel refreshed after a day or two of bookkeeping when I move back to my creative work. It gives me time to really shut down that part of my brain. When I am working on the books my mind doesn’t (can’t) drift. I am focused and the creative side is completely shut down, giving it much needed rest.

I think there is something to the saying of keeping variety. While I wouldn’t want to work with numbers to the extent I do words, I do enjoy the few days reprieve it gives me. I enjoy the “one answer” as opposed to the “many answers”. With bookkeeping, I am done when everything balances to zero. If it doesn’t balance then I am not done and I need to go hunting for something I missed. It is easily defined and while it is sometimes frustrating, it has a definite answer. Writing does not. There is no balanced zero at the end of an essay, article, or book to tell you you’re done. You must trust your instincts, your work. There is second guessing in yourself, whereas, in the former, there isn’t?you are right, or you are wrong.

As the years pass and I become more comfortable with the methods of bookkeeping I have even taken the leap from a paper and pencil synoptic to an accounting program. With the basics learned through the manual methods, I have a better understanding and can move it to the program which makes things much easier (so far) when it comes to transposing numbers, forgetting a row, or plunking the numbers into the wrong column. I am finding that these two jobs complement each other, the bookkeeping allows me to work on writing, but more than that it gives my brain the freedom to shut down, to recharge, and to work in new ways. Bookkeeping keeps me fresh and keeps my eye for detail sharp. If I can find that lost penny in a sea of numbers, I can spot that sentence that isn’t quite right or that comma that’s out of place.

Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature. Follow her path on the writing journey at

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