“Hey, could you have a chat with finance? Their figures don’t match ours.”
“They’re not going to,” I shrug, “but don’t worry, I’ll check them out but they’re both likely to be accurate.”
And the journey though the Kübler-Ross model begins…
“That doesn’t make sense. They can’t be different and both be accurate.”
“I can understand you thinking that. I thought that way the first 3 or 4 times I had to do this. Trust me, they can be accurate and different from each other. They’re probably misaligned by processing transactions at different times. Or treat accruals differently.” I shudder. Accruals. I remember my first time… oh, no time for memory lane, the PM is moving to the next stage.
“That’s no help – which of the sets of figures am I supposed to report to the Board? Finance’s or ours? Why do we have two systems anyway?” He’s not actually talking to me now. Next stage coming up in 5…4…3…2..
“Hey, could you, or Finance just come up with something I can use?”
“I’ll be happy to check both systems for irregularities or errors – but we can’t find a ‘middle option’ to present.” His face drops. Next stage is inbound.
“I hate this part of the job. The Finance Partner should be doing this. Or the…” he glances at me.
“As I said, I’m happy to check them both – but they will likely have perfectly explainable differences.” The PM looks again at the two reports in his hands and returns to his desk looking miserable. Poor bloke, I think, but the next stage is just one meeting away.
“How do you feel that went?” I ask after the board meeting.
“Yeah fine, got some good inputs.”
“You noticed you presented our finance data, not Finance’s.”
“Yeah, I talked it over with the Head of Finance before the meeting – he said this wasn’t unusual. But he’s going to look into it before the next meeting and come back with an answer.”