November 24, 2009

Isang Pinoy: Dubai Accounting Jargon

Call me the dumb, but I thought of sharing this anyway for fellow Filipinos starting to work in a finance department here in the Sand Pit =)

Philippine English communication is basically patterned from Americans.  But this host country follow European communication at the most. Of course, it still depends on the mix of people there is. Mingling with Indians take Indian communication, as is with Arabs who have Arab vocabulary. But in a mixed environment, the outcome would be everything from each one. I now work with people from India, UK, Scotland, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, France. And each has their own jargon. They have to forgive me as I need time to digest their phrases so I pickup the correct message.
For a newbie accountant from the Philippines (without experience dealing with companies on this part of the globe), let me randomly identify the most common differences. Hey, dont expect something on IFRS or GAAP and those standards. These are just the ABCs of adjusting to work here having got used to Philippine settings:

Be warned though that the below are generally observed, but it could be different for some companies.

1) Filipinos write 09/01/09 for September 1, 2009. Dubai reads 09/01/09 as 09 January 2009.
2) They read invoice number 77722 as triple seven double two. They spell out letters Em- Ay – double Zed for Mazz. Yes, they are used to say "double" for two letters or two numbers coming next to each other. And they say Zed for the letter Z.
3) If they say 100 gran, they mean 100,000. A gran is a thousand.
4) If they say 100-odd, they mean "more or less 100". Same with 100-ish for "near to or about 100"
5) They say P and L (Profit and Loss) for Income Statement
6) They start the explanation of journal entries with "Being…" for our "To…"
7) They say Earnings Before Tax, we say Income Before Tax
8) They say "to book", we say "to record"
9) If they say "Being True-up of", they mean "To adjust accrual/ deferral to actual numbers"
10) Accrual release - for that portion of accrual which no invoice has been accounted against and not re-accrued.

This is the list for now, that I shall update should I remember more. But should you know more that I missed, please let me know!

November 23, 2009

Of Mergers and Acquisitions

(A repost from my Facebook notes dated July 14, 2009) 
My husband kidded me if my next employer will witness merging/ acquisition with/ by its competitor.It was a year back when I left Wyeth when the papers announced it was acquired by Pfizer.
Now I am with Showtime Arabia which has just recently merged with competitor Orbit. The latter being both Middle East - North Africa leaders in the pay-TV business.
Merger and acquisition news have been at the heights when recession hit hard. This was their way to save either or both companies. But there are those acquisitions where the shareholders of the acquired company voted to sell their stakes because the acquiring company offered a high price for them.
These acquisitions and mergers did not sound good to customers in the online comments after the write-ups, with accusations of market monopoly. While in the workplace, buzz is on redundancies.
Taken on the lighter side, a merger/ acquisition because both parties are operating badly brought by competition is better than the chance of both companies closing.
One operation creates economy than none at all.

November 22, 2009

Buhay Dubai - Bahay

( I am reposting this please out from my Facebook notes, dated 11th July 2009.)
Kagagaling lang uli namin tingnan ung bakanteng apartments sa Al Rigga.
Prime location, malapit sa metro station, at ung isa sa may lumang building ay mukhang hindi istrikto sa sharing. Nagmura na kumpara nung nakaraang taon. 80k dirhamo kada taon ang renta plus 5% agent's commission, plus 5% deposit na lang yung lumang 2 bedroom hall flat. Last year e 150k at 10% ang agent's commission.
 Hindi sya furnished kayat kailangan ulit ng sampung libo dirhamo para sa mga gamit bahay. Wala ring parking kayat si Forky ay mangungupahan din sa kabilang kanto.
Two cheques lang daw, ibig sabihin anim na buwan na renta ang paunang bayad. Syempre wala kaming ganung pera kayat sa walang patubuan na housing loan sa kumpanya kukuha (hmm, hindi lahat ay may ganitong pribilehiyo).Yung isa naman na bago ay mas maluwang, furnished kitchen, two full baths, may shared gym, shared swimming pool at parking, ngunit 130k dirhamo kada taon at bawal ang sharing. Dahil sa istrikto ay matagal ding hindi napupuno. Naabutan ng recession.


Nakausap namin ang dalawang pinoy na nakatira doon. ayon sa isa, bawal man ay nagshesharing pa din sila. ayon naman sa ikalawa ay kung di namin kaya ang bayad ay huwag na namin i-attempt na umupa. dahil daw napansin na maraming pinoy ang patagong nagshesharing ay nagkakaroon na rin ng flat inspection at paaalisin ang mga mahuhuli.


Hindi naman yung dalawang kuwarto ang kailangan namin ngunit ito ay dahil sa requirement para makasponsor for residency. Otherwise, ok na sana na umupa na lang ulit ng kuwarto para less hassle sa annual tenancy contracts. Bumabait na ang mga real estate agents. DAti pag natunugan ka na Pinoy e uunahan ka nang "not for Filipinos", o kaya'y "not for sharing". Ngayon ay alas-onse ng gabi eh dina-drive ka pa upang i-tour sa apartment/ flat.


Nakakasama man ng loob na may "not for Filipinos" ay di mo sila masisi kasi ang mga Pinoy ay mga likas na practical. Di bale na makipagsiksikan, makapag-ipon lang. Halimbawa, ang mga ibang lahi ay gagasta ng between 4k to 7k dirhamo kada buwan sa upa, ang mga pinoy ay mahal na ang isang libo dirhamo kada tao. Ngunit marami na ring pinoy ang nag-a-allot ng 1.5k to 2k kada tao kada buwan para sa upa, natutong iadjust ang budget para makatira sa mga hindi masyadong crowded.


Sa sharing, walang hall, kasi paupahan na rin. Kada kuwarto ay may 4-10 tao nagsisiksikan. Walang privacy. Sa iba pa nga ay mix ang lalake at babae. Ang mga paliguan ay pinipilahan o kaya'y by schedule. Sa pagluluto ay pila din. Sa sharing, ang mga kurtina, kahon, cabinet atbp ang ginagawang partition. Ika nga, parang nagbabahay-bahayan.


Itong recession ay mayroong idinudulot na mabuti. sa maraming natatanggal sa trabaho ay hindi na nagririsk ang mga tao na umupa ng mahal. ang mga presyo ng mga paupahan ay unti unting nagnonormalize. Five years ago, ang two bedroom flats ay 50k. Nagtriple ito mid-last year at nagsimulang bumaba ngayong taon.


Ang mga nabanggit na scenario sa itaas ay specifically sa mga prime areas gaya ng al rigga. dahil sa mga medyo mas malayo ay iba naman ang kwento. mas mura ang mga upa, ngunit kailangan magdrive/ commute ng additional hours/ traffic kada araw makauwi lang. ang iba naman ay malayo sa mga malls, simbahan, parks, atbp.


... heto kami ngayon hindi pa decided kung kukunin ung flat. umaasa sa mga haka-haka na maraming mababakante pagdating ng August at magmumura pa, sa ganun ay hindi na kailangang magsharing. sana nga bumaba pa...

Gremly Home School

As we feel unnecessary yet for the Gremlin to attend school, we thought of trying to slightly home-school him so when he later attends school, he can at least cope up with classmates who had been in the classroom as early as three years old. So we bought him the Brilliant Baby CD series. He would seem to be almost late at starting with them as the age bracket is for one to four years old and he is three years five months. He has watched the CD like an hour a day for less than a week and he could identify most of the letters now.
I guess the key to my little boy is not to force him and to keep him interested.
I observed that his interest changes as months pass. He now could focus on watching educational CDs, unlike when he was around six months to two years, he cant even sit except for this particular Nursery Rhyme CD. He'd rather climb and run then.
As for the Brilliant Baby CDs, there are VCD versions and are 25% of the DVD price. Of course the DVD versions have extra features of chapter selections, sneak peaks and educational acivities. For us, we bought the VCDs to take in more topics.  

London Bridge is Falling Down

My two boys went afternoon biking and roller blading.

The Gremlin pedaled his bike as his dad tried the roller blades (the first time).  The dad keeps falling and the Gremlin would get to his side and ask:
"How are you papa? Dont worry...".


One time the dad said "Dont come near me, if I fall I could hit you", that the Gremlin sung "London bridge is falling down". The dad suggested singing instead "Papa is falling down, falling down".

November 14, 2009

Review: Samsung SGH-F480

 Its slimness, 5megapixel camera, touch screen and big screen view -- made me happy to receive this mobile phone from hubby on my birthday. But now I look forward to having another phone and does not really want a touch screen now.
  • Just barely five months of use and started not budging, sort of it "hangs". Pressing the screen hard does not help, and pressing the switch off button for re-setting does not help either. I have to remove the battery then wait awhile before switching it back on. Imagine the phone ringing and it wont let me receive the call. 
  • This is a definite no-no for a texter (SMS). The screen is ultra sensitive, and the fingers ought to be small-sized to avoid wrongly hitting nearby letters.
  • This does not have an external switch to activate the camera, at times you need to urgently take a photo.
What else? I think these are generally what it is for touch screen phones as written in other pages, not just specifically for Samsung SGH-F480.

Whatever it is, I dont recommend this phone =)

November 13, 2009

Gremly Harley Davidson Bike


Kalel's now driving a Harley DAvidson (the inscription, that is =) ) kiddie bicycle.
Adventurous as he is, he does not drive it straight and fast.
He circles plant boxes. He never misses to hit anything bumpy along the way. Bet on him to pass on paper or anything on the sidewalk and you'll never be wrong.
For us, the bike is helpful. We bluff him everytime he misbehaves to return the bike back to ToysRUs, and he would obey.



November 09, 2009

SLU Fishpond twelve years back on this day

At the SLU fishpond twelve years back on this day, the gremlin's mom verbally affirmed she feels so blessed at the passionate care she is receiving from the gremlin's dad =) 

November 08, 2009

School for the Gremlin

"What month does Brent start classes?" asks the gremlin's dad. He's asking about the one in Baguio.
Yeah, we're both re-thinking sending our Gremlin to school back home. You see, the minimum AED 15k annual fee for nursery classes here translates to around Php 192k, enough to pay Brent School Baguio. And that means our son getting the equivalent of the premium schools here.
We thought attending a school in Baguio could be better because:
  • Filipino schools (as cheap options) here in Dubai are much like the Philippine public schools according to two moms I chatted with;
  • The other cheaper options are some Indian schools but these mean other culture and different curriculum;
  • Unless at Saint Mary's (which is not of Philippine curriculum), schools here dont include Christian (Catholicism) religion subjects;
For us the Gremlin's parents, an ideal school is where learning and playing comes hand in hand. This could be everywhere in Dubai but it comes with high cost.
That aside, we also consider Baguio because it is where family is and where our gremlin gets a normal social life. Earlier,it was during his stay there that his social and mental growth has accelerated. He was just a month old when he would speak his syllables to his grannies and to his aunt Bistang every time they speak to him at every pause of an ascending tone. He babbled "bah", "gah", "inggah". (I remember those syllables still quite well!) 
Coming to Dubai, it was just us his mom, dad, anta lisa. We were not enough to encourage him to converse. Yes, he turned two without being his like mom =) who at prior to two years old is talking her simple sentences (according to the gremlin's granny, haha).
He only caught up when he settled in Baguio again for seven months. According to his grannies, soon as we left him (at two years seven months), he started speaking his simple sentences until he became conversant.

(Although it should not be ignored that he's extra hyper, he is more than the usual hyper toddler. This gave us hard time to let him sit and learn to talk.)

I know other parents feeling against sending their children through school back home while they work here, fearing the kids might be left out unguided.
But we feel blessed in this aspect because we have the all the confidence in the love and care of the gremlin's grannies. They love him and are happy to have him there =)

It just then becomes a case of us missing him around if we do send him home. In the meantime, we aim to keep growing in our careers so $ becomes a lesser restriction whereever our gremlin could enjoy school. (How about getting that managerial employee benefit of AED 30k annual schooling allowance?)

Btw, we realized sending the gremlin to Brent school may not be financially practical. Say, how about sending him to SLU Lab/ Saint Louis School Center, then attending drumming lessons at Musar Yamaha on his free time?

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