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Taking the minus out of accounting

Basic bookkeeping a jewel

Christine Kay
Northern News Services

Coral Harbour (Jan 29/03) - Emerlinda Pimentel took a job at the Hamlet in Coral Harbour last October as the finance director. Her main task is to train Cindy Ningeongan who will take over the position in two years.

In November, Pimentel received some unexpected help. The Department of Community Government and Transportation along with the Nunavut Association of Municipal Administrators (NAMA) offered a basic municipal accounting course for anyone interested. Right away, she signed herself and Ningeongan up for the challenge.

"CGT and NAMA are really helping us. I know accounting but there's still some things I'm not familiar with," said Pimentel.

Together, Pimentel and Ningeongan travelled to Rankin Inlet and attended the week-long course. Pimentel said although it's only been two months since they finished the course, she can already see a difference in their work.

"Once people understand the basic rules to follow, they'll understand what needs to be done. They were really asking questions. Almost everybody was raising their hands," explained Pimentel when she spoke about the basic accounting course.

Ningeongan worked as the finance officer for the hamlet until she began her training to become finance director.

During the week-long course, Ningeongan learned how to take a piece of paper and turn it into a financial statement.

She learned the principles of bank reconciliation, internal finance controls and bookkeeping.

Ningeongan said she wanted to learn as much as she could from the experience.

"It was very helpful and refreshing. I would recommend it but it's a lot of work," said Ningeongan.

Frank Pearce, a member of the NAMA board, said he hopes as many people as possible take advantage of these opportunities.

"We knew an awful lot of people in Nunavut needed the basics in accounting," said Pearce.

So far, two courses were offered in Iqaluit, one in Rankin Inlet and one in Cambridge Bay. An intermediate municipal accounting course will be offered sometime in the near future.