Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Canada – CCCXXXII. Difficult Beginnings (15 of 15)

The construction industry is cyclical; there is an expectation therefore that business may at time slow down; but what was unexpected was that it became more and more difficult for Candiac Equipment to collect its outstanding debts.  The aged Accounts Receivables showed many receivables that have been languishing for 90 days or more.  Cash flow was beginning to get affected, and Metzger and Bélanger met many times behind closed doors.

(Aging the receivables involves determining for how long a given receivable is in arrears; if an account is overdue for 60 days and more, there is a concern.  The end result of an aging exercise is to, for instance, determine for a given company that its receivables are as follows:  60% are 30 days, 30% are 60 days, and 10% are 90 days and over).

When I aged the receivables, I blanched, and so did Bélanger when I took the worksheet to him.  The question was what to do now?

Enter Claude Desloges.  He was hired specifically to collect these long suffering arrears.  Of course, this was not his only task; but his priority was to get the cash flowing in again.

Claude took the bull by the horns.  He began by writing tough letters to the worst cases; he didn’t completely throw diplomacy to the wind, but he made it clear that the company could no longer wait for its money.

Then he got on the phone and aggressively demanded to be paid.  Oh, he was polite, but there was no mistaking the fact that he was quickly running out of patience.  He, of course, heard all the excuses in the book.  Some examples:  “I had surgery; it was touch and go; I’ll be paying you soon.”  “My accountant just left, I just hired a new one; the first cheque I am signing is yours.”  “I send you a money order, it probably got lost in the mail; Canada Post is so unreliable.”  And the one that get the top prize:  “The cheque is in the mail.”

While Claude was mercilessly blasting many of our customers, I wanted to hide under the desk; it was embarrassing, and I wondered how many accounts we would lose.  The salesmen were very worried; their concern was that Claude was killing their chances of doing business with these firms.

But Claude had the support of Bélanger who pointed out to the salesmen that they can’t send merchandise to people who aren’t paying for it.  He used the well-known axiom:   You can’t send good money chasing after bad money.

It seems that Claude was on the right track, for slowly the funds starting coming in.

Claude was a year older than me; we got along well; therefore, not surprisingly, we became good friends.  At lunch time, we went out on long walks and chatted.  He talked about his life and I reciprocated.  But all that was a prelude for something more important.

One day he told me that Bélanger thought I had great potential; he (Bélanger) had wondered if I would consider studying towards an accounting degree.  Yes, I had.  Bélanger had a C.G.A. (Certified General Accountant) degree and had hinted that such a degree would put me in the driver’s seat and secure my future in Canada.

My problem was that I could not hold a full time job, go to university, and study.  If only I could do the whole thing at home, I would be willing to give it serious consideration.  This is when Claude told me that I could do it by correspondence; I would never need to get out of the house except to write my exams.  I was trapped!  I had no excuses vis-à-vis Claude, Bélanger, and indeed my own self!

I am a disciplined individual and was able to study on my own.  I was already married when I started; I worked, faced the daily problems of a household, and had two toddlers running around.  It took 6 long years, but the day came when I was able to put C.G.A. after my name.  Don’t ask me how I did it; I often ask myself that same question.  My efforts paid handsome dividends, and down the road I secured an auditing job with “The Office of the Auditor General of Canada.”

Claude offered to give me a lift since it was becoming increasingly difficult for Gilles to do so.  Our friendship deepened, and he invited Norma and me to his home.  I met his wife, and the four of us had a beautiful evening.  Of course we reciprocated.

When I left the company we lost touch.  But I still remember him as a good friend.  I owe him a lot, he had “plotted” together with Bélanger, and lucky for me they had succeeded!

Our neighbor, Walsh Construction was the biggest account Candiac Equipment had; eventually, they bought us out.  Financially and practically, it made sense to both parties.

Concurrently, as the construction industry was in a slump, we had acquired a system (McBee One-Write) which speeded up the bookkeeping process.  Add the two together, and the end result was that the company could dispense with my services.

I was given generous notice and was able to secure a position with a big company:  Crane Plumbing.

I had already started my C.G.A. studies, and therefore the person who preached to me the gospel of accounting, and had a hand in shaping my future, could say with a great deal of certitude that I would do well in life.  And indeed, I did.

 *  *  *

 Many people crossed my path during those difficult beginnings. In time they dispersed and went their own way.  Indeed, after living for 11 years in Montréal, I moved to Ottawa after securing a position with The Auditor General Office.

The last time I saw Foufou was when he came to congratulate me on the occasion of the birth of my daughter.  He then moved to Toronto, and eventually to New York, thereafter, I never heard from him again.

I saw Nisso and Laurette while I lived in Montreal.

As already mentioned, Alfred vanished, resurfaced again, and disappeared this time for good.

I saw Albert, Victor, Maurice, and Agam on a few occasions.  When I moved to Ottawa I lost touch with them for good.

Mrs. Teicher had met my wife while we were still engaged; after we married, we paid her a visit, and she made sure to remind me of her prediction.  Norma and I were beaming, and were so happy that this kind old lady had proved right after all.

We depended on each other for a season; thereafter, went wherever the current of life took us.

Let this part of my narrative be a testimony for this period that had come and gone; and above all, for the moral support we provided each other during this difficult part of our lives.

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