It's time for CFOs to get in touch with their auditors and schedule preliminary work, field examinations, and so on and so forth. Some diligently proactive CFOs send auditors estimates of their receivables, payables, and inventory balances even before the end of the year.
One such CFO receives a phone call from a middle-level auditor assigned by the CFO's primary contact John, the partner of the CPA firm, to do the preparatory legwork.
"Hi, my name is Luis, I work for John."
"Hi, Luis, nice to meet you over the phone."
"Based on your inventory levels John has decided that we must do a physical observation test at least at one location."
"That's fine. Did you, guys, decide which one?"
"It's the one with the highest value of the stored product. Hold on. Let me see the name on your schedule..."
"Don't bother. It's the Hudson Tank in Bayonne, New Jersey, near the port."
"Ok, I will make arrangements for the facility's management to escort you. We have no activities scheduled for December 30th or 31st, so you can take the gauges' readings on the 30th as your year-end control."
"Well, will they be able to take the product out?"
CFO is silent for a few second, digesting the absurdity of the question and summoning her will power to prevent herself from laughing madly into the receiver.
"Luis, the product is a LIQUID chemical. THAT'S WHY IT'S IN THE TANK. The only way it can be taken out is if it's pumped out into another tank, or poured out onto the ground, or into the river, if you prefer that."
"So, I will not be able to actually see and count it?"
"Well, Luis, if you are really nice to the ladies who work there and bring them some Champagne for the New Year's celebration, they may let you climb onto the tank and dive in. But I am warning you, Luis, it's over 40 feet tall. Are you a good diver?"