Zeroing out on the Zimbabwean currency

Posted On Wednesday, 06 September 2006 02:00 Published by
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Imagine the chaos when property management company, CB Richard Ellis in Harare, opened its doors at the beginning of August to start receipting rentals. Overnight the Zimbabwean currency had 3 zeros lopped off and they had 3 000 rentals to process.


One of the first businesses in South Africa to learn about the dilemma was the supplier of their property management system, MDA Property Systems. Director, Deon Keet, says, “We received a desperate call for help as our office opened. It was obvious that a potential crisis was looming. We knew that we had to make a plan – but we didn’t know where to start!

 “The impact of attempting to revalue currency in this manner is not something that one anticipates when designing a computer system and is certainly not something one learns about at university. It is not even a topic on which Google can give some direction.”
Keet says that as CB Richard Ellis’ IT partner of almost 10 years standing, MDA knew that they simply had to come up with a solution. Fortunately the company has some very bright systems analysts in the office who were taught to think ‘out of the box’ during their B.Business Science studies at UCT. It did not take long before the synergy of several healthy minds started finding a solution.
The essence of the problem is as follows: A tenant would have received a rental statement with a bottom line of say Z$ 1 000 000.00. Payment would be in the form of (New)Z$ 1 000.00 – assuming full payment and the result should be a zero balance.
The solution was to create adjusting transactions to deflate tenant balances by Balance – Balance/1 000. In the above case, this would be a credit of Z$ 1 000 000.00 –
Z$ 1 000 000.00 / 1 000 = Z$ 999 000.00. This would then reduce the tenant balance to (New)Z$ 1 000.00 prior to the tenant’s payment of (New)Z$ 1 000.00 – and all would be good.

Keet concludes,” The next problem was how to get this done in the quickest possible time for the 3 000 tenants. We also had to adjust contractual rentals and operating cost recoveries going forward, as well as devise a solution to adjust creditor, cash and other accounting balances in the system.
“We are proud to say that through the creative use of existing features in MDA Property Manager, together with well-crafted database update ‘scripts’, we were able to email a full solution to CB Richard Ellis by the end of that dramatic day in August 2006. The mutual reward was more than one fat zero!”

Last modified on Monday, 14 April 2014 20:03

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