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secret commissions

‘The opportunity for obtaining the benefit of a secret commission may come your way,’ he said, an old, weathered man of, it seemed, many corporate disappointments, ‘but should not be taken advantage of, despite the sums involved.’

Year five into a three-year TAFE Accounting Certificate, three nights a week listening to the droning rumble of teachers who themselves had just put in a long day at the office before fronting a class of thirty or so mainly disinterested men and women who, for reasons personal, were desirous of obtaining the professional qualifications necessary to be able to sit at a desk every day for the rest of their working lives.

Including one or two who equated office life with providing more than enough opportunities to slip away to the beach, or the reef, or the rocky ledge before during and after working hours; having learnt from the same teacher that nobody questions why an accountant has to leave his office for an hour or two to travel to some far distant part of the city and collect the one hundred and eighty day-old debt from a heavily tattooed panel beater who’s dilapidated shed sits, rusted and forlorn, at the far end of an alleyway eleven blocks away from the nearest McDonalds and around the corner from a chained off enclosure often frequented at night by a large group of Harley Davidson motorbike riders.

But in order to achieve these rewards there are long years of learning the malleable financial characteristics of debit and credit, balance sheets, assets, liabilities, share-holdings, 3rd party interests, trial balances, accruals, pre-payments, cash-flows, projections, amortisation, depreciation, foreign exchange, forward currency buys and sells, insurance, commercial law, Cantonese, statutory law, tax law, debt collection, statutory accounts and tax returns. A man should have so many nails in his coffin.

‘What is a secret commission as averse to the ordinary type? The teacher was asked, but after declining to give any further information, he stumped off onto another subject.

This means an accounting student has to find out for himself.

And for that the student will need eventual employment in an IT subsidiary, say, preferably the outpost of an American company owned by a svelte young man with wavy hair who doesn’t mind spending 20 mill on a new sailboat every five years. The student will also need a company car and a rapidly revolving management team, all of whom have company cars they either buy out when the are shown the door or leave it to an executive of the company to decide who gets the keys.

This is the first thing the new accountant does when he starts this new job, he finds that executive, because the company car he has been lumbered with job eats oil and has a head-gasket problem. If it doesn’t, don’t worry, it will, because this is where Dave steps in.

But first, know the company car you want. Go ahead, be choosey, yank companies turn over their execs on a regular basis, this too you learn so it’s only a matter of time.

Some IT companies have software salesmen who carry between their ears a bewildering amount of knowledge concerning, say, the proper placement, size, quantity, weight, inventory hold, item displacement volume, shelf volume, shelf positioning – only losers have their product placed low – price and turnover of any given item in any supermarket aisle.

This knowledge is derived from their knowing the infernal intricacies of the software they sell. These boys earn BIG commission on a sale, primarily because the fellow they sold it to stopped listening after five minutes of the presentation, and not wishing to sit through another from a rival IT firm, signed a contract for new software on the dotted line before lunch, then signed another for future upgrades, five years, say, predicated by the number of copies.

That’s no secret.

So it happens one of the IT sureshots gets a raise, a new office and a new car – abandoning the old one to the executive of the company to decide who gets the keys. The one with unruly, curly hair, bad breath and an immediate liking for the new accountant’s stirring tales of slaughterhouses and long hollow waves that break around deserted south coast points.

Best mate Dave tells you over many beers that your current company car has a few failings: suspension buggered, head-gasket cooked, bearings shot, two oil leaks, hydraulic hoses rotted, radiator rusted  .. you have to stop Dave sometimes, otherwise your biro will run out of ink.

Once the executive of the company to decide who gets the keys hears of this sad state of affairs, he immediately consults the unused company car list and whaddya know. Look what pops up. The hotshot’s old ride.

And it’s now yours.

Later comes step two, because after a few years the Alfa gearbox can only take so many high-speed low-geared early-morning runs around the chicanes heading north to Avalon from Newport.

It has to go. A new one is required. And bigger. This is because TAFE educated accountants can become better paid executives in the fullness of time.

The company’s Alfa options are to pay-out the lease then sell the car to the best offer, which won’t be much over the bump, the residual. Say $10,000 add the lease payout $2,000 means the company is owed $12 and still has the Alfa in the garage.

Step in Dave.

Dave has a collector, a bloke with a garage full of the one-model car which is guess what?

This baby


He wants my old Alfa so bad he’s offered Dave seven thousand above the bump, thinking Dave owns the thing. Dave makes the deal, mails me the paperwork, collects the money, hands over the keys, meets me later and after many beers gives me $13 for the company and we split the difference.

Later, when someone like an auditor asks to see the transaction sheets for company car disposals you put the Alfa’s record on top – because the good news is the company made $1,000 on the deal.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Disaster Dave #

    Secret commissions, what a hoot, I just got into Phoenix after towing a 1940 Ford Opera coupe from Pasa Robles up Frisco way (12.5 hours of driving) to find your email mate
    Bloody ripper BozO.

    October 29, 2019

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