Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Handovers and a complicated jigsaw

Yesterday was a very busy day as it involved two handover meetings and a mass flight booking session at STA Travel.
The first handover involved me handing over the reigns for financial management of the block where I live to my friend Clare.  Clare's great as she's on my wavelength and has her head screwed on so I am more than confident things will tick over nicely whilst I'm away when she's left in charge.  We had a nice hot choc in the local coffee shop and ran through my handover document.  The only tricky bit was Companies House paperwork but even that didn't put her off :)  We then bid farewell for the next few months and I dashed off to Islington. 
Next stop was Solar Aid's office.  I've come to know them quite well, having called in three times over the past couple of months.  Lorraine, the UK project accountant, has done an amazing job in bringing me up to speed on the financial processes and the organisation I'll be working for in Zambia, Sunny Money.  Despite her busy workload she'd produced me a really detailed handover file which will no doubt prove a god send when I attempt to do my first ever month end in 2 weeks time.  I have been a qualified accountant now for well over 6 years but have, until now, managed to avoid month end.  Well, other than in the small organisations I help in my free time but they don't count in my mind as they don't involve monthly accruals and prepayments!!  Some may think me mad but half the attraction of this role was to do a 'proper' finance job and some double entry bookkeeping.  Time will tell as to how I get on but Lorraine's idiots guide (definitely for me, not her!) was a great help in getting the grey matter working yesterday.  I'll be producing the year end accounts for Zambia to feed to Lorraine for the group consolidation so I think we'll be working closely over the next few months.
My final stop was STA Travel in Victoria.  Again, I have become a regular in that office, having dipped in and out many a lunchtime/evening to scope out my route for summer/autumn 2013.  Sandy's been very patient as I've moved countries in and out of the itinerary and between months.  I joke that my plans for 2013 are one giant jigsaw with each piece being booked / planned in order so it hangs together as a masterplan (can't you tell I do planning for a living!).  The keystone to all of it has been visas and that has meant dropping some countries because I simply don't have enough time in London after Zambia to get more than 2 visas.  Anyway, yesterday I finally booked the bulk of the flights with only some small internal flights left to sort.  The rough plan is [London - Mongolia - China - Thailand - Malaysia - Korea - London]. I depart for Mongolia 5 weeks after returning from Zambia so it's quite a quick turnaround; everyone said I should learn to fly by the seat of my pants more.  The plans see me pass through Beijing airport roughly 6 times so I think I should get shares in the Chinese Aviation Authority :)  It's good I know that airport well after my visits to China last year.  My next job is to plot routes through China and Thailand by land so all recommendations welcomed.  I have some ideas for China but Thailand is a last minute addition to the plan so I've fewer ideas for there and I know some of you have already visited.
Off to the movies tonight for some R&R as travel planning is way more exhausting than finance!!

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