Technophobe, or just ignorant – a newbie reflects – 2

E-mails made a major difference to my life from the 1990’s onwards. As I increased my work in Russia,

my international telephone calls cost more and more. E-mails increasingly reduced my bills.

My father had serious mobility problems, but wanted to continue work. Replacing his typewriter

with a basic computer and printer made life easier and more profitable for him, when he worked from home. Had he lived to use the internet, he would have been a proud supporter.

Contract financial management and accounting forced me to understand new computer systems, but only as a user and only to a limit of what I needed to know. I treated computers as a black box: I would compare what went in with what came out (and what should have come out) and reported back to the company and tekkies what I had found.

The main problem (and major source of income to me) was that the companies had bought bespoke software, which either did not work originally or was unable to change to meet changing company needs.

Of all my contracts, only once did I encounter a standard accounting package (and the job did not involve sorting out problems with it). Simple standard systems cost less and work better according to my experience. Identifying problems did not increase my understanding of whether they were caused by software, hardware or networks.

My last job in the UK, before being based in Russia, was at British Benzol (Little Oil rather than Big Oil).

There I had a chance, with help, to take databases, sort through the numbers with pivot tables, and make reports, but I have not used them since.

To Russia, I brought Excel, Word, the internet and e-mails. These enabled me to function in my work with little difference caused by the geographical location. Internet connection in Moscow is reasonable,

except for some cloudy days, when the signal can be lost. The time difference of 2 or 3 hours ahead of the UK (we do not change the clocks for summertime) means missing live webinars run for the US that are broadcast here in the middle of the night. Most are repeated, so few valuable ones are lost.

In Russia, I started with (US) accounting training courses and writing materials. The internet enabled me to research my topics in much greater depth than any other library could do.

Starting my first European Union (EU) project with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) , a project website was mandatory. We took ours seriously and professionally, creating 50 accounting books in English and Russian (detailed in posts 2 + 3 of this blog). Apart from making some design suggestions, the site was contracted out to specialists and my tasks were limited to uploading and downloading my work.



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