Audit Update

The Florida auditor sitting in my one-man office was shocked to learn I would not be in the rest of the week.  I said you scheduled the audit visit for today, so I changed my plans and am in the office today, but leave tomorrow.  Apparently she assumed that the audit schedule gave her the right to stay as long as she wanted.  She was planning to sit in my office for another 2-5 days.  I told her sorry, but if she wanted to book 5 days, she should have booked five days.  And by the way, if she had tried in advance to make me sit dormant in my office all week, I would not have agreed to the visit.

This is just insane in an Internet world.  Everything she asked for in advance was sent to her electronically.  Even though she is sitting right next to me, her requests to me for more data have come by email.  I can't figure any reason why she is even here, unless Florida finds it cheaper to fly her around and use other people's offices rather than provide her with one of her own.

By the way, this is fairly typical of a lot of government workers in my experience.  If they block a meeting on their calendar for the whole afternoon, they want it to last the whole afternoon.  There are a lot of jobs out there where people are most comfortable proving their worth by showing that their calendars are always full.


  1. AnOnserver:

    Yeah, my experience exactly with the various government auditors - they have their minimum time blocked out and they are going to at least use it up. But I suspect more it's related to their individual "fair" share of the work, their department's "fair" share of the budget and some sort of productivity "incentives" thrown in to boot. I've come to calling those obvious 'why are you still here?' hours by the name: ~doing the fat lady~. If the shoe fits...and it does....

  2. mesaeconoguy:

    The email piece may be an audit requirement for her department/governmental function.

    Email is legally discoverable and (in most cases) carries a timestamp along with the email record itself, so it provides an audit trail and proof of request, should the issue come up again.

  3. NL7:

    I think they have in mind an office that's open "business hours" that mimic the hours that a government office is open, and are of a size and nature with a government office. Most government policies are written with the idea of a basic business model, sort of like Civil War shoes all being the same size.

  4. HenryBowman419:

    In my rather extensive experience, government meetings always expand to fill the time available. Sometimes, such meetings spillover for a few days...the gov't folks get paid either way, plus they may have a good time in the evening wherever they are. This is human nature, when no one cares about saving money (after all, it is neither their money nor their company's money -- it's funny money).

  5. Harry:

    My little company got audited by the SEC, maybe three times in twelve years. Since we did not hold client's money or securities, these visits, including one where Men in Black greeted me as I was on our weak computer that morning, were cordial, and all visits were cordial. The last team who came in for three days uncovered that we had billed a wealthy widow for two thousand dollars more, over fifteen years, than the discounted fee in her contract that mouldered in a three-ring binder said.

    My reaction to this oversight to the SEC people was that it was not an oversight, and that we had been giving this lady a big break, to which the Feds said we owed her a big (to me) refund of three thousand dollars. The three grand came out of my partner's pocket.

    The SEC examiner told me they had to find something. I waved him goodbye.

    We did have clients who moved to Florida, but that was some time ago, and I assume since we did not murder or rape them, the statute of limitations has run out for me. My question is: why are State Attorneys bent on raping a coyote in Arizona?

  6. Not Sure:

    One thing you can be sure of when it comes to dealing with "public servants" is that they know who works for whom.

  7. Joe_Da:

    That is why you hire a CPA or an attorney to handle the audit.

    The IRS agent or state auditor goes to the CPA and/or attorney's office. The CPA will spend up to 1 to 1.5 hours with the agent in an 8 hour day at $200 an hour. On the other hand, the taxpayer handles the audit and the business owner loses 4-7 hours of productive time out of an 8 hour day, (along with the additional non productive time getting mad at the agent).

    Overall, it is a lot less expensive letting a CPA and or attorney to handle the exam.

  8. MNHawk:

    She might live in Phoenix. Sometimes one state will hire someone to live in another, and do nothing but audit that second state's business.

  9. Griffin3:

    You did make sure to check her backup, before you excused her from the office, right? I mean, I'm pretty sure the Florida sales tax auditor's office has a SWAT team. Everyone else does these days, why should they miss out on the fun ...

  10. johncunningham:

    or it could be she volunteered for the trip in order to visit boyfriend, kids, pals, the like. she is on per diem, probably eating high on state money,and she wants to stretch it staying til Friday, she can get expenses for the whole weekend, possibly, hit the Grand Canyon.....

  11. MNHawk:

    It could be either. I've dealt with people who live here, and people who flew in. My favorite audit was a California tax audit. The woman did fly in, checked in every morning for an hour or so, then took off for Mall of America for the rest of the day. Thousands of pages of payroll records, fixed asset records, sales records, inventory records, and the like went untouched.

    But somehow, in the end, I wasn't mad at the hours spent assembling the records. Amazingly, she found no errors in our reporting, so no fines. :-)