The problem with assumptions is that they are not always correct. Something to always bear in mind no matter what you are doing, but something to especially bear in mind when dealing with humans and money. After all, what use is money without humans?

I was asked to run a report today, and due to my own faulty assumptions about the data that I was looking at, I was led to discover another faulty assumption. Funny how that works. I was looking up the commission history of one of our affiliates at work, and I noticed there was no data about what they had been paid for the past 8 months. The last two months makes sense, since we pay quarterly. But, last quarter of 2004 and this past quarter should have been paid, and had tihs past quarter not been paid (which was feasible) then at least the 2004 money should have been.

The faulty assumption that was discovered was that the historical data had never been backfilled. So, we need to reprint all of the checks, because otherwise we’d be double paying our affiliates for 4th quarter 2004. I am sure that they would have liked that, but the company accountants and owners certainly would not have. Luckily, nothing had been stamped or mailed yet. Envelopes had been stuffed and labeled, yes, but they hadn’t been sent.

That’s the joys of switching to new systems. You find these little glitches. Thankfully, our track record seems to be that we notice the glitches before they cause us (or even worse, our customers) any real problems. So it goes.

But what was my initial faulty assumption? Oh, that the affiliate that I was looking into belonged to one company when it in fact belonged to another (I work for four). So, had I not thought that it should have been paid, I might not have noticed the bad data since the other company is not technically on the new system yet. Fancy that?