Man of Accountancy, Man of...Method
Taut, linear, ineffably alert, Droot Scraliontis greets me with
a courteous, almost imperceptible nod of his pale, balding, light-bulb-shaped
head from behind an imposing haggah-wood desk.
His office is large,
airy, austere. Accountancy reference books line one wall. On another
hangs a portrait of Vangster Blayne Chitterling, founder of the
Chitterling Foundation, which has charitably financed the early
education of so many leading figures in the accountancy world
-- everyone, in fact, from Parboglio Hmm F.I.A., who introduced
the revolutionary Night Audit system into the Hotel Gat, to D.D.Q.
Moiety, author of the famous Institute of Accountancy Different
Colored Pens Standard Protocol, a document which single-handedly
defined the role of the fluorescent green highlighter in non-forensic
auditing for all time.
In this distinguished company, the name of Droot Scraliontis stands
out as effortlessly yet incontrovertibly as though it had been
highlighted in fluorescent green by one firm, decisive stroke
of an accountant's pen. "When I know Droot is going to pay a call,"
said one senior practitioner, "I take extra care to ensure that
my red pen, my green pen and my black pen are lined up in parallel,
with my ruler at right angles to them."
Another - a senior partner in a firm of private accountants -
said "Droot is the sort of man who always wears a grey suit."
Meeting Droot Scraliontis, it is easy to understand the awe in
which he is held. His pale, rather expressionless eyes miss nothing.
Noticing me looking at the picture on his wall, he says "I see
you are looking at the picture on my wall."
"Yes," I say.
"So I see," says Scraliontis. His voice is dry and emotionless,
with something of the quality of sand -- appropriate, since this
most accomplished of men is, in addition to his accountancy achievments,
an avid collector of sand and a founder member of the Sand Society.
"So I see," he repeats, adjusting the position of his ruler with
a fluid, controlled movement of his grey-suited arm.
"Yes," I repeat. In the outer office, someone turns over a page.
A quiet sob is heard from the Great Filing Room -- Droot Scraliontis
eschewing electronic data systems in favour of traditional paper
Presently, he speaks. "Art and accountancy have much in common,"
he says. "That portrait which appears to interest you so much:
just like a trial balance, it is done using different colors.
Though hopefully not too much red. He he he," he adds; "He he
he he he he. Not too much red. He he he."
"Very true," I say.
"Yes," he says; "Red being, of course, the standard colour used
in accountancy practice to signify a negative balance accruing
to the corporation -- or individual, of course -- in a revenue
or capital accounting item."
There you have the essence of the man on whose slender, sloping
shoulders rests the entire financial record-keeping burden of
the great Starship Titanic project. There you have the meticulous
integrity, the precision, yet the ability to make the great creative
leap which enabled him to conceive of his most famous contribution
to modern accountancy practice: his paper on Internal Fixed-Cost
Allocation In Internal Corporate Service-Based Profit Centres,
which paved the way for the explosive growth of Accountancy Services
Divisions in all major corporations by ensuring that the more
accountants such divisions employed, the more internally profitable
those divisions appeared.
It is a discipline, a vision which Mr Scraliontis hopes to bring to the Starship Titanic project.
"We already have seven accountants for every unit of non-accountancy
personnel," he tells me, "and we hope to increase that ratio much,
much further. It is the secret of corporate financial health."
Committment, dedication, vision: Droot Scraliontis is the very
model of a modern accountant, as we leave him bent over a single
sheet of analysis paper, his head whirling with visions of perfectly-balanced
columns, different-coloured inks, and -- who knows? -- his wife
Wyde, their three Worbs, and their elegant, sand-filled home.