Sue Chapter 27: Incentives

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This entry is part 27 of 21 in the series Sue

We returned to the kitchen where I finished preparing supper with Sue’s help.

She was a little awkward handling hot food while nude but I took care of the oven, which reassured her.

After all, it was just a matter of putting the chicken breasts in a pan, placing the rice in the rice cooker with some water and the beans in my steamer pot on the stove top.

Sue was surprised at how easy it all sounded.

And cooking wasn’t that long either! Half an hour later, everything was served and the three of us were eating at my kitchen table.

I remembered that Sue’s plan was for her and me to have a supper together with Annie serving her but Sue’s invitation for Annie to sit with us made me wonder if she had forgotten or if she had changed her mind.

After both girls complimented me on the cooking, there was a short silence,.

“So, how come an accountant is to good with girls, cooking and music?”, Sue asked me, out of the blue.

I had hooked her (and probably Annie too). I had shown myself to be interested in and even interesting.

I could begin to open up a little more.

“Well, to be fully honest, I am not really an accountant according to the strict definition of the term”

Annie laughed. “Ah ah… so you launder money or something like that?”

I tried to not appear defensive and project confidence, but I don’t know how well I did it.

“Nah, it’s just that I do more than accounting. Ok, so I am more of a VP of finance, but without the actual title since I work for a firm that does outsourcing”, I explained.

“I don’t get it”, Sue replied.

“Ok, so you work in marketing, right? When a client decides to invest money in a campaign with your company, they spend it from their annual budget for marketing, right?”

“I guess… I never really thought about it. I ask how much they are willing to spend for this campaign and try to work with it, or they tell me what they want to do and we prepare a quote for them”, she replied.

“Exactly, but their budget is prepared by the VP of finance or Chief Financial Officer. That person sees the projected revenues for the year and tries to divide it between the various departments to make sure the company is in the black, makes a profit.”

“Ah, yeah, we have one like that at the firm. She decides our raises, the rate we charge, how much to pay our models, etc…”

“Exactly! That’s in part what I do, but instead of being full time for a single company, I have a series of clients I help on a part-time basis. One of my clients, for example, they had no idea how much to charge for their product. It’s a specialized electronic part for cell phone towers. It costs $2,000 to make so they thought about selling it for $4,000, but I reminded them that they needed to pay back their research cost and set aside money for whatever their next product is. I also checked their competitors and realized they could sell it for $5,800 instead.”

“Wow, I bet they must love you”

“Most of my clients do. The reason is that I always try to manage both sides of the incentives for them to love me!”

“Oh, I know what incentives are!”, Sue replied.

“You do?”, I said, not too surprised: never show surprise when a girl knows something. It patronizes her.

“Yeah, we use that for marketing campaigns. Sometimes, we get clients who only want to promote their brands, I hate those. I always try to get them to advertise their products or services and then, I focus on what are the incentives for the people that view the ad to either inquire about the product or buy it”

I nodded.

“Exactly! I do the same but on the financial side. So, in short, I try to make it to that the clients are both incentivized to implement my plan and to let me make new ones. In short, I make sure my plans help them, but also help me”

Annie intervened. “So I guess your boss must love you!”

I blushed a little. “I don’t really have a boss.”

“You are the boss?”, said Annie, surprised.

“No no no… Well, it’s complicated. I work in a firm where each of the professionals, we have accountants, corporate lawyers, industrial psychologists, etc.. is more or less independent to work at they want but each give a certain percentage of their wages, or a monthly fee, whichever is higher, to the firm to pay for the secretaries, the rent, etc..”

“Oh, I see!”, replied Sue. “It’s a little like a credit union”

This time I laughed. “I guess you could say that. Except that in a credit union, the clients are the owners of the bank, but in our case, there is an actual owner of the firm and he makes a profit on our shares. We don’t mind, because I get cheap responsibility insurance and some credibility since people outside of the firm think we all work together.”

“But you don’t?”, asked Annie.

“Well, yes. When I need a corporate attorney, I know who to turn to, but we don’t have a boss which dictates our code of conduct and some of my co-workers could use some direction..”

“What is an industrial psychologist?”, Sue asked, showing me what she was hanging to my every word.

“It’s a psychologist who specializes in industrial relations, like how bosses and workers in a factory interact with each other. Portia, for example, likes to help companies to formally write all of their procedures to remove the human element from day to day stress”

“That’s an odd choice for a psychologist”, replied Annie.

“Yeah, Portia often says that when you are studying to become a psychologist, you have to go thru a psych eval to know what branch you should be in. Some have more empathy with kids because of childhood trauma, some are better with depression because they struggled with it. And Portia jokes that those who come out 100% clean become an industrial psychologist.”

“It’s not very funny”, replied Annie.

“I’ve yet to see someone laugh at that joke other than out of politeness”, I replied.

“So let me guess, it’s the lack of humor sense that sends you in that specialty?”, joked Sue.

I don’t know why, but I found that very funny. Perhaps because, in a way, it felt true.

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