Second Banana in Business

I’m what you call a “second banana” in the world of business. My job is to make the “top banana” look good. The top banana is usually the controller and sometimes owner of a company. They need help maintaining the company records as accurate as possible. They want to know where they are having successes and disappointments. They want to take credit for the successes. And they are always looking for ways to improve procedures and processes to make them more efficient and less error-prone.

This is where I, Mr. Second Banana, enter the picture. A controller whose business sells products with expiration dates asks me, “can you give me a list of all items that have a certain quantity of stock that is over a certain number of days old?” Or another will ask, “if I give you a spreadsheet of item codes and unit costs, can you import into the system new costs for the products we build as opposed to purchase for resale?” Or, “is there a way I can combine these four reports into one so I don’t have to run them separately?” Or, “how can I convert this information into separate spreadsheets to be sorted by sales rep so that they can be emailed to them?” Or, the real clincher, “is there a way to make all orders get inventory immediately allocated to them by bin as well have multiple bins for each item with their own unique quantity?”

Now that I’ve bored you with such detail, my usual answer to requests such as listed above is, “I can do anything for money”. In other words, if the client is willing to commit reasonable programming time to allow me to get the request done, I can do it. It’s my job to make him or her happy and look good to their bosses, creditors and/or auditors.
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