As we've discussed, Occupy Wall Street has had a bit of trouble with tracking their finances. Donations initially were collected in "a large cooking pot covered in cardboard and duct tape" but as methods became more sophisticated; "donation buckets" and "a yellow messenger bag" were also utilized. Expenses are numerous, including but exclusive to meals, bail, and sleeping bags from the nearest Army surplus store. But as the protest grew, things have gotten a little more complex, including paying the musical talent:
OWS has also faced frequent squabbles over money — drummers at one point demanded $8,000 for their efforts, for instance.
I haven't lived in Manhattan for a while but the finest percussionist at Union Square would have a hard time earning $8k, let alone someone who just randomly shows up day after day claiming to be the "heartbeat" of the movement. Now, then. As we've reported, OWS has been on the lookout for a willing and able accountant to get their financial house in order. While there are some Big 4 supporters among the group, they seem much more comfortable working in the confines of a luxury hotel as opposed to a park in the winter. Despite the current challenges, OWS has finally decided that it's time to get serious about finding the right person for the job, although there are still some bureaucratic hoops to jump through:
[T]he decision [to hire an accountant] still has to get past the General Assembly, Occupy's central decision-making body — and the hire might be a departure from the movement's decentralized, anti-authoritarian style.
Chaos! Disorganization! The total lack of regard for the findings of the Treadway Commission! This is what Occupy is all about and you just want to throw it all away? Well, yes they do, actually. But some within the OWS accounting group are aware of the resistance:
It's going to be a really hard sell," said Justin Strekal, another member of the accounting group (which recently changed its name from Finance to avoid any association with big banks). "A lot of people believe that people will just donate their time. We've had a bookkeeper walk away, and we'd really like to have someone with accountability."
Regardless of how you feel about OWS, I think we can all agree that in order for someone take up this task, that person will have to get paid. I know, I know. It's crazy to think that any accountant would actually consider their time valuable during this time of year but, clearly, not not everyone inside OWS is hip to the motivation of many double-entry artists.