In preparation for starting a new office job, a young accountant spent a week with the retiring accountant whom he was replacing. He hoped to pick up a few tips from the old master and studied his daily routine intently.
Every morning the experienced accountant began the day by opening his desk drawer, taking out a frayed envelope and removing a yellowing piece of paper. He then read it, nodded his head sagely, returned the envelope to the drawer and started his day’s work.
After the old man retired, the new boy could hardly wait to read for himself the message in the drawer, particularly since he felt somewhat inadequate about stepping into such illustrious shoes. Surely, he thought to himself, the envelope must contain the secret to accounting success, a pearl of wisdom to be treasured forever.
The anticipation was so great that his hands were actually trembling as he opened the drawer and took out the mysterious envelope. And there, inside, on that aged piece of paper he read the following message:
“Debits in the column nearest the potted plant; credits in the column towards the door.”