'Are we having fun - yet?'

EDITOR: Managing a small family business is not for the faint hearted.

Last Friday, bleary eyed, - still at the office at 1 a.m., I posed such question having audited for the last 7 days thousands of transactions over the period of the preceding 13 months. Some 70 pages of 11 by 17 details were patiently waiting in the exit tray, ready to be delivered to the District Attorney of Tioga County. They showed 100 percent correlation that the theft and forgeries were pointing in one direction. A highly trusted employee.

What was believed to be impossible, became a nightmare when our findings showed the trusted employee forged numerous documents totaling a massive $40,000 in fraud and theft. The impact is magnified in that the business will have to sell $1 million of goods to make up the loss.

The audit exercise brought back a flood of vivid memories as a finance manager at Kimberly Clark some 45 years earlier. When it comes to forgery, and altering documents, standard audit procedures may take longer to uncover. The blood pressure sensor registered way off the Richter scale, indicating an earthquake was in process.

The following day, somewhat recovered from the shock, an envelope landed in my inbox from a firm of legal heavyweights (not to infer that slim or medium sized heavyweights are more advanced, better or worse than their counter parts, nation of origin or sexual preference) indicating Richmond Township Sewer Authority was hauling me in the Court of Common Pleas over an interpretation of their regulations for $2,400.

Apparently, the sewer authority and I read the meaning of the letter "a" differently. Their policy defines "a" - hooking up fee for a specified group of buildings. I agree. It's been paid. They say … not so fast … Let's interpret. I say - I'll trump your interpret and raise your anti- in the halls of reason. That's what keeps smart lawyers in business.

Long ago, I learned that arguing with a bureaucrat is a bit like wrestling with a pig, you both get dirty, but the bureaucracy loves it. As it stands, I'm prepping "pro se" in the coliseum grounds of justice. I can hardly wait as I enter into a den of lions licking their chops. I hope I'm persuasive as my running has seen better days.

No sooner than I receive the summons - I finally get good news, - the newly installed ink jet refill kiosk machines are now firing on all cylinders. The service rep said they got sick in transportation and needed Dramamine or some such thing to recover.

With neurons firing at near overload capacity to absorb information, synapses standing at attention, - as an eternal optimist, I'm confident that we'll manage the fury of activity in spite of the distractions. Of course, I start with a low benchmark to success and happiness. If I can get out of bed in the morning and can scratch my back it's going to be a great day! If you're thinking about starting a business, take my advice, expect that some days may not be as much fun as you planned.

Chuck Kovacs - VP Marketing COS Wireless

Wysox - Mansfield - Wellsboro - Athens