My roommate is the hero of story to come. She conquered the following situation on her own, in a second language on little to no sleep. She deserves your comments of praise.
We have been trying to figure out how to do our end of the month finance, accounting and tax stuff. Trust me when I say that grade 11 accounting in no way prepared me for being a business women overseas in a country that presumes the need to keep two sets of books, (which sounds ober sketchy – but it is the only way to get things done). We have done more than 10 jobs this month, but we were only given 5 registered receipts and couldn’t apply for anymore until next month. Even our accountant told us “only print this type of receipt when absolutely necessary, don’t waste them on little $20 jobs you do”.
Why? Because for every official government receipt a company issues they have to pay taxes. That same amount has to be directly deposited into your company account. In order to take out money from our account we have to have an official receipt that has been issued for our company expenses incurred, but of course no other business wants to give us receipts because than they would have to pay tax (vicious loop).
To this point most of our clients have been fellow expats, who, as long as they are not running their own business, don’t really care what the receipt looks like. We could print them out a nice invoice in English and sign it and they would be just as happy as if they had gotten an official registered receipt stamped with our company's red chop. While this works it is less than honest on the tax front and also makes us look like we are not really busy working.
While we have a great brand new printer, copier, scanner deal that we bought for our business, it sadly cannot meet the needs of a business in this country. In order to issue proper government honoured registered receipts, you must print them on old school tractor feed paper – the type that only works with an ancient dot matrix printer. My roommate went to the computer market, learned the word for dot matrix, bought a second hand printed (forced the guy to give her a real receipt) and than lugged the 50 pound thing all the way home.
My roommate is a smart girl, and knows her ways around computers. She tried installing the printer software on her old computer with XP, didn’t work. She tried installing it on her new computer with windows 7, it also didn’t work. She tried trouble shooting and down loading what she needed off line, but none of that worked.
She dragged the whole unit and her lap top back to the market and demanded “I can’t install your printed, I want my money back”. This, in a country were returns are unheard of, and once the money is in your hands you NEVER give it back. The guys at the shop figured she was just a dumb foreign girl who knew nothing about computers so they offered to help her out and install it for her. Two of them spent over twenty minutes apiece trying before announcing “Oh, it’s because your computer is way too old”
“It says it is compatible with XP and this unit has XP, I tried it on my one with Windows 7… but that didn’t work either”.
“Oh of course not, that operating system is too new”. These guys were starting to sound like Goldie Locks now all my roommate need was to find one that was “just right”. They kept trying, their boss came and tried and in the end their conclusion was “Your Computer speaks English, this printer doesn’t. You need to get a new computer”
“Yeah right” thought my roommate “I am going to buy a whole new, none English speaking computer, keep your cheap chunky second hand printer, just so I can owe the government more money. I don’t think so”. She left the shop, free of the burdensome printer’s weight and headed to the opposite end of the market, hoping to find a seller who could help her.
But the guy from the first shop, who was still put out about having to give her money back, followed her down the hall “Don’t sell to her. Her computer only speaks English and all she will do is hassle you with her problems” he yelled behind her.
Resolution: our accountants promised to print our receipts for us each month, but they couldn't help this month since their own out-dated dot matrix printer had broken down.