By Yahya Im
Nine years ago, I introduced myself as an accounting student to a girl at a conference. With glitters in her eyes she asked: “You study accounting? Do you like numbers?” and I cheekily replied, “I like the story behind the numbers.”
That was our last encounter. Not because she found it lame (since she did reply “that’s smart”) but due to the fact that we never exchanged any contact details (men are dumb).
Now, working as an auditor for five years and truly, I live up to the word. My job requires me to review financial statements to assist the partners to give an assurance whether the financial statements had been prepared accordingly following the required standards and acts.
Numbers And Trends
Analysing the numbers as well as trends had been the part and parcel of my daily routine. The electricity bill hiked up during this period? Oh, it’s because the company rented a new unit. The company paid higher bonus for the year? They have higher revenues? It’s a form of appreciation to their staff for the hard work (screenshoot this and send it to your boss). The fluctuation of the number always have a story behind it.
When I read about the new three-digit case of COVID-19 a few days ago, I didn’t flip out immediately.I read the distribution of the case, most of the new cases came from the Benteng Cluster, a new cluster resulting from the immigrants who entered Lahad Datu, Sabah, illegally and were detained before being tested positive for COVID-19. And since it’s very hard to enforce physical distancing in prison, the infection was bound to happen.
Just like reviewing a financial statement, noticing the liability of a company increased compared to last year, it is not wise to say the company is in a terrible shape because they might lease new machinery (increasing their assets) to maximize their production which might lead to a rise of revenue. Or will the increase of the liability affect the going concern of the company? Surprisingly, the company may have a good cash flow because they used financing to acquire heavy fixed assets to ensure they have adequate cash reserve to pay for their operating activity.
Ministry Of Health, Malaysia
On another note, reading a statement made by the Director-General of the Ministry of Health, Malaysia (MOH), Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, it appears that the Ministry has been conducting extensive testing (more than 1,000 tests) on the close contacts as well as next of kin of those tested positive. In a way, having such a number is also a good thing because they were detected in an early stage and MOH can take the necessary precautions to stop it from spreading further. And guess what, the number dropped to 24 the day after.
It’s all about how you read the numbers – either you read it as a whole or you read the story behind it.
Besides, this also strengthens the recent government decision on banning any entries from countries that have more than 150,000 cases because the Benteng cluster started from the immigrants attached to one of the companies.
MOH also had issued a statement saying that the cluster is an isolated case so we should not be expecting a reinforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) soon.
Having another MCO is not something that we can afford right now. Our economy has lost more than RM2 billion each day of the MCO. Many people lose their method of income and it has been very tough.
Nevertheless, we should never be complacent. COVID-19 is here to stay indefinitely until we find the vaccine, so always remind ourselves to abide with the SOP which includes:
- Maintain physical distancing
- Wash our hand with water and soap or use sanitiser
- Curb our outdoor activities
- Always keep track of our journey
- Do visit the physician immediately when you have the symptoms
- Quarantine yourself upon returning from overseas (glare at a Minister)
- Observe a proper etiquette of sneezing and coughing
Never forget how difficult our lives during the MCO was. That famous hashtag #kitajagakita (We Look Out For Each Other) somehow helped us get through the tough times as we realised all of us were going through the same issues and we needed each other.
Recommendation for when you need a boost during this tough period: I just recently watched the third instalment of Bill & Ted and I love it. It served as a perfect conclusion of the trilogy. Watching it back to back with the previous two made it more fun as you immediately catch the callback jokes.
The 30-year long-awaited sequel felt like a love letter from the predecessor where they included the element that we loved and, making it their own.
Bill & Ted: Face The Music is still running in a cinema near you so if you have nothing to do during weekends, do catch it before it ends its run.
In the great words of Bill & Ted, “Be Excellent To Each Other” and “Party On, Dudes.”
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