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The Business of Not Sewing! ~Not Passionately~

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“My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight”

Robert Frost

How can I make closing the financial year and publishing 43 W-2s for employees a part of my passions? Not me! I am passionate about sewing, about fabric creation through knitting, about education, about business building, about blog building, but I am just not passionate about filling out governmentally required forms nor basic accounting arithmetic. Perhaps I’ll just have to file away the past 5 days of my life under Maintanence and carry on.

It shouldn’t have taken 40 hours to close this financial year. I have one of the best accounting systems around, far too big and complex for the size of my company. The almost constant horror, Computer Problems, stretched out my personal “accounting hell”.

The Microsoft Windows Server 2000 operating system on our server has some code that is mangled from a hardware crash earlier this year. We have had 3 OS crashes in the past 12 months. No one should have to live through that! We need to upgrade to Windows Server 2003 OS but have been trying to put that off until we have time and money to deal with it. In the meantime we are spending all our time and money putting the transition off. Not smart business but I do have to work with the realities of getting a team together to do the OS upgrade. Everyone must be ready to work long and hard.

The broken code meant that the accounting system software, Great Plains Dynamics, a company purchased and improved by Microsoft, could not perform it’s updates for the year end closing procedures. So what should have been at most a 16 hour job at the most became a week long nightmare.

I have used Great Plains since 1993. The records can let us tell a customer what they have purchased and how long they’ve had it and goes back 13 years. This helps our company serve our customers. If there is a possible warranty issue we can see how old the product is and repair or replace appropriately. Or if we have a request for a replacement piece we can reference the type of finish that would produce an identical replacement piece. I mean, life happens, right? And you want your expensive materials to last through years of normal classroom use and still look pristine.

Great Plains Dynamics is a huge program and we have been through many problems and solutions with it over the years. But now that Windows Installer and Microsoft Net Access and anything else that Microsoft developers dream up is integrated into whether or not my accounting system can function I have two monolithic divisions of one gigantic company to scale.

I can not do it alone. I have a computer consultant that comes running to help as fast as he can and while he understands the networking and Microsoft OS better than I, he cannot imagine, without 13 years of experience, all the complexities of the Great Plains system.

This year’s surprise package was a tax update bundled inside a service pack update. Usually the two are separate but the accounting people really wanted us to apply the fixes in the service pack so it was rather cleaverly bundled. The documentation references the two different updates but does not make it clear that the year end closing tax tables are contained in the service pack 2. This was no Christmas present!


I should say I work for Microsoft. And that I work for free.


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

4 responses »

  1. I like that quote from Robert Frost, MB. I hope that you get the year end done soon … I hated doing it for the nursery school I used to be treasurer for. And we only had 3 employees!

  2. MaryBeth, hope you can celebrate a bit because you managed to get this huge task finished right now, despite all the horrible scenario you went thru.

  3. Well, I feel your frustration and know where you are coming from. Our business is much smaller and we don’t use the same programs but I do the accounting and I am also the computer consultant and network administrator, having been in the business far too many years before I went to work with my husband. I dreaded setting up the network, being all too familiar with the things that can go wrong the problems integrating programs and versions of programs. There are months where my sewing machine has been but a dream..

    My year end was October and October-early November this past year, combining year end accounting with equipment failures and program upgrades, are best stricken from memory. Required payroll forms are, at this point, fairly easy by comparison.

    Good luck!

  4. Mardell, there seem to be quite a few of us Administrator types who are also sewing and knitting divas. It really cuts into the creative drive to have to solve the problems presented by electrons and wires and papers and printers. I love having a computer helper although he rushes in and makes more problems sometimes because the accounting package is so complicated. I guess I love having the help more than I hate having to fix periodic problems.

    But at least it is now over!! Except for one tiny tax update….eeesch


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