Accounting Filipino Style

Gotta love this website for helping to stay sane while dealing with this country and the mental giants living here.

So after finding out that the previous accountant didn’t actually file the tax returns and pocketed the tax payment, all the while dragging out the excuse for not providing the official receipt (I’m not completely stupid you know) for three months by blaming in on the BIR for not giving the turd a receipt due to waiting for the final closure of the old business…. but being provided a duly stamped tax return “proving” they actually paid the tax money to the BIR.  Can you say fixer?


I found a new accountant and in the process of getting all the receipts together for the new accountant/dong I learned much about Filipino accounting standards.

First is the joy of sorting through receipts from a country that is too damned stupid to agree upon a standardized date format like the rest of the world.  Is 1/3/2014 January third or is it actually March 1st?   You see the damned point of sale registers use different formats for the date and you have to look up in the spreadsheet/bookkeeping software when the receipt was posted to figure out what the date really is.

Oh, and that spiffy electronic bookkeeping software like Quicken?   You don’t really use that for taxes, you use paper ledgers.  Yes, the old columnar pads from the 1970’s are the accepted manner of keeping books here.   Yes, you can “register” your electronic software and actually use it but be prepared for a hassle and extra expense.  So you keep “internal” books on modern software and also have the transaction posted in the paper journal as required by the BIR.  In the U.S. this is called two sets of books and can earn you a long vacation with free room and board with new friends named Bubba and Shank.

So you go through the emails finding all the receipts cause you were smart enough to demand a scan of every receipt as the money was spent by your Pinoy manager, bless her thieving black heart.  And you learn that there are more receipts than purchases cause the thieving botch (no typo there) was erasing receipts and resubmitting a few of them.  Not a lot, just taking advantage of their position which any self respecting Pinoy is going to do, why else would they accept responsibility and a job but if not to steal?   You being the clever Kano did check the amounts but did you track serial numbers on the receipts?  Nope, and a Pinoy with a 85 IQ got one over on you.

Not a lot, under 20K over a few million pesos but once you get your hands on the original invoices you see the erasures that looked just fine once they were scanned and emailed to you.

And the fines…. oh how they love to warn you that you owe fines because some low life thieving 85 IQ Pinoy pocketed the tax payments the last three months while telling you that the receipts were delayed because of the closure of the business, that the tax returns was filed and they even gave you a stamped copy of the dang thing after you expressed doubt.  Duly manufactured with the help of a scanner of course and a fixer.  And my God the enormity of the fines.   1000 pesos… yep, under $25 bucks… about the only saving grace of the entire mess.

And the cost of the tax return?  $250 for the return and about eight or nine freakishly long, totally redundant and useless forms.  So you are out around a grand or so from the invoice/receipt theft, fake tax return and unpaid taxes.  A little wiser to the sheer amount of effort they will use to steal a few hundred dollars.

And yes, they have electronic methods of submitting some of the reports… if you have Windows XP on your computer.  See the XP is free, no charge, nada dinero, so the flips in government base their software on XP and later versions won’t run the software.  You show up at their office, they download it onto your thumb drive, and you go back to your office to find that the software won’t function properly unless you have XP operating system.

So heads up if you are operating a business here.  Print out all receipts and closely check the serial numbers on the official BIR receipts.  Take the time to eyeball the actual receipts when you visit, check each one against the scanned copy, and the rule is no receipt, no payment of salary till the receipt is produced.  Yes you would think that anyone of intelligence will realize that they will get caught but remember that you are doing business in the Philippines.



Published in Corruption, Low Standards


  1. Profile gravatar of Johnny

    It is so much hassle to constantly check the small details simply bc of “the sheer amount of effort they will go through to steal a few hundred dollars”.
    Even though this is a poor country, I wonder all the time if they are stealing not because they are poor and desperate, but because they just love doing it. I think it’s the thrill of cheating anybody they can even if it’s for such a little amount it really is a thrill.
    Luckily, for my business I got to the point I no longer care. I got so burned out I don’t care if my manager and employees to steal it all. I’m more than happy to close it.

    1. Profile gravatar of Sarah

      “I think it’s the thrill of cheating anybody they can even if it’s for such a little amount it really is a thrill”.

      You know Johnny, I actually think that Filipinos asks for anything, i.e. money, load, gifts etc just for the thrill of it, see if they can get away with it, not because they really need it. If you give, well and good. If not, well nothing lost, but plenty to gain in the off chance that you might, just might give!

  2. Profile gravatar of Idiotocracy
    Idiotocracy Post author

    Yes, to snatch what they can is ingrained in so many of them. It is a socialist country in some aspects and their view is “but you have so much” therefore some of them have no problem with stealing from you despite the religious prohibition. But the bedrock problem is the lack of a functioning legal system that provides consequences for crime. Sure as a foreigner you can afford to grease the process to speed things along but in the end the crook and his family and friends vote and you don’t.

    That said, I’ve found that you can find decent ones from the provinces where their good name and reputation is very important to them, raised in poor but honest families. You know you found a good one when they try to resign because it is taking so long to accomplish tasks with the government, still a sense of shame and pride in lots of the rural ones. Find them, bring them in, set strict rules and SOPs, and set expectations. The problem is dealing with the better off Filippinos like business owners, lawyers, accountants, doctors, and government workers who look down upon the rest of the population and see them as sheep to be sheared along with the occasional Kano.

    1. Profile gravatar of Johnny

      Man, you said what I always say. The laziness and incompetence of the legal system and the laziness, incompetence, and corruption of the police force have created a culture of thievery and sociopaths. All you have to say is, “I did not steal it” and thats it. The person who stole it actually believes the BS lie he just told and doesn’t give it a second thought or even crack about possibly being caught in a lie. Then the police show up and the thief plays a victim and accuses rich foreigner of being arrogant and false accusation.
      If you get the police to actually believe your story, how long will you be going back and forth to court over the simplest court case? Then how much money are you going to be paying an attorney whose only strategy is to delay as much as possible so he can keep charging the 3000 per month without having to do any work. Of course Dong attorney is all to happy to show up in court for a 4000 fee and for the judge to decide he’s taking the day off or is unprepared for court because judges conference is next week.
      I think in every society, 2 out of 10 people are going to be bad or do what they can cheat at any opportunity. 2/10 are good no matter what and will never cheat and actually believe there is a god watching them or just understand the concept of right vs wrong. 6/10 will go with the flow. They see the 2 bad guys cheating everyone with no consequence so they think, why not? Thus, you get the Philippines.
      When I was doing my company, I hired 1 or 2 people from a local Christian church and they worked out really well. Then I hired a few more and they were really good as well. I’m not at all religious, but they said the difference between them and the Catholics is they preach stewardship, responsibility, and believe you don’t need too much to live anyway, plus there is no need for them to steal. They said if one of the members was really in trouble, they all gather to help the with food, donations, job opportunity, etc. It sounded cool to me; hopefully they are not lying to me. I do love my employees now. They are so sweet and hardworking.

      1. Profile gravatar of Johnny
        1. Profile gravatar of 30-30

          To Johnny
          Yes it is with the philippine embassies and consualtes in my country, Real professionals to have email accounts that can be hacked,

          1. Profile gravatar of Idiotocracy
            Idiotocracy Post author

            Some of that is because of the idiot that set up their IT department. You send them a simple zipped file and they aren’t allowed to open it, don’t even have an unzip program, so you send it to their personal email if it is a scan or other medium size file.
            Then again, their amazing layers of rules and regulations are designed to keep the low IQ employee (and that would be most of them) from doing something stupid. That is a major reason why they are so unwilling to deviate from their procedures even when it is butt cold stupid to follow the procedures.

            Corruption + Stupidity + Thievery = Philippines bureaucratic standards

          2. Profile gravatar of Mike

            I don’t know what’s going on but I cannot get Yahoo philippines any more. When set it to yahoo philippines it sends me to yahoo Singapore. I noticed that a lot of Singaporeans are starting to complain about all the filipinos on yahoo Singapore.

  3. Profile gravatar of Fr. Bong Bong Jolog Jun III
    Fr. Bong Bong Jolog Jun III

    The lack of workable accounting standards is what lays at the heart and soul of all corruption in this land of imbeciles and thieves. With proper accounting standards in place, and compliance with those standards enforced in an even handed and universal manner, fraud becomes fairly transparent when it is as unsophisticated and opportunistic as it appears to be in the Failippines. Much of what goes on is overt stealing, which could be quickly identified and easily eliminated. That doesn’t happen.

    I was an accountant in another life, and sat sat on the board of directors and several audit committees for a number of prudentially regulated entities (think banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, etc). The kind of practices which I see here would land people in prison, in a more civilized and fiscally accountable environment. Basically, there is little risk and virtually no consequences for extraordinary levels of theft in the Failippines. Mostly, perpetrators will never even be identified, let alone caught, charged or convicted of anything. All attempts at genuine reform are stonewalled by the very thieves who so clearly understand this.

    Accounting and Audit: It’s more fail in the Failippines.

      1. Profile gravatar of Tacitus

        I would have to agree, BLX2. Accounting is not the problem. It’s the loopholes, inherent contradictions and built-in corruption friendly policies that keeps the accounting from keeping the dongs accountable. It’s DELIBERATE and designed to allow cluster-fucks to get away with stupid shit. It’s designed to fail. But then even if the jungle monkeys had systems, processes and methodologies that were sounds, IT WOULD STILL FAIL because they don’t want it to work. There’s no point in trying to make systems work if the people using the system are essentially broken. It’s ironic but Pinoy pride is actually more the failure of the Philippines than anything else. They’d rather stay butt-hurt because of their pride and let things fail than accept their shortcomings and try to improve them.

  4. Profile gravatar of Idiotocracy
    Idiotocracy Post author

    “I think in every society, 2 out of 10 people are going to be bad or do what they can cheat at any opportunity. 2/10 are good no matter what and will never cheat and actually believe there is a god watching them or just understand the concept of right vs wrong. 6/10 will go with the flow.”

    That is exactly how it works which is why it is so important to have a functioning legal system, not to punish the bad 20% but to keep the middle 60% in line. Here in the U.S. there are politics involved once you have reached a certain level but as long as you aren’t interfering with the big dogs you stand a fair chance at a reasonable outcome in a case.

    Interesting about the local Christian church members being more dependable. Here in the States you learn to look for the little fish symbol on a customers car because in too many cases that means they think they are special and deserve far more than what they pay for. I had one woman explain that it was okay to lie to me as a Christian because she was the Lord’s bride and could do no wrong, that all was forgiven if she repented. With the Catholic Church being so corrupt it is no wonder that the locals can go to mass and then head over to their mistress and the other family.

    “fraud becomes fairly transparent when it is as unsophisticated and opportunistic as it appears to be in the Failippines.”
    So true, most of the time their “plan” is so easy to see through that you tend to think, surely they wouldn’t be that dumb. Right now my GF is running things and she is rock solid honest. I read the stories about guys picking the wrong kind of woman or not setting standards and expectations at the start so I really benefited from their experiences. She is sharp enough to understand that she has a great deal for both her and her family so it is in her best interests to follow the straight and narrow path. About all you can expect of 80% of the people is that they will follow their best interests, the other 20% are also following their best interests but in their case they believe strongly that someone is watching over their lives and they will be accountable at the end of life so their best interests lie in keeping their hands clean.

    The PEZA folks are really trying to instill a culture of non corruption. There have been cases where someone’s lease was not renewed after they developed a good business and a local official’s brother in law would wind up with up with the lease but for the most part they leave the investors alone. So far even Customs has behaved as they are located inside the PEZA zone. Outside agencies, well it is a crap shoot with them, some of them behave, others stick their hand out after causing you delay after delay on simple matters.

  5. Profile gravatar of Johnny

    I’ll give you the perfect example of how great the legal system is to a deceitful person. Property theft is so rampant in the Philippines. They get such a joy out of squatting, forging names on sales, inserting fake titles at the land assessors office, selling land that doesn’t belong to them with a fake title, buying land you know is stolen cause you know it will take 10 years for the court system to sort it out.
    My uncle stole the family estate long ago. The siblings were all in the USA, so together with his thieving cunt of a wife, they immediately started forging properties to themselves or simply forging the names of parent’s/ siblings to sell the lands. There was so much land and if they played it right, invested just a little wisely, and waited, they would have been a very rich family. However, they had to have it all for themselves.
    So, mom and her youngest brother have to go back to the Philippines and start the process, which probably only costs about $5000 in travel and lost wages. Court says you need to try a settlement of course since he doesn’t want to actually work for his paycheck or set things right. So, Of course, thieving uncle and his wife say they are willing to negotiate and settle. Mom and the other sibling say fine, you can keep what you have stolen, we will divide the rest of the assets. Win for them & rest of family willing to accept the loss, but move on to the bigger picture. A contract is signed in the presence of a lawyer.
    Thieving uncle and his wife are supposed to start transfer of properties to siblings, but delay. Mom and sibling have to get back to the USA so they ask the attorney to handle it and make sure it gets done. Thieving uncle and his wife celebrate a victory cause the victims have left, didn’t file a case, and they had no intention of living up to their end of the deal.
    Now mom has to come back to the Ph. This time angrier and thieving uncle asking what she is so mad about cause he decided him and his wife worked very hard on the properties and they are now entitled to keep them. Now mom has to file a case against them. Their response, “You’ll give up cause you won’t spend the time and money”. So mom decides she is going to take an early retirement to spite them and to save what is remaining.
    The lawyers have to track all the sales, titles, and research, which involves going to multiple gov’t offices and of course it takes more than a year cause no self-respecting Filipino lawyer does things quickly. Then it took 4 years of filing cases to finally get it to court and mom has a ton of evidence against her thieving brother. After 2 months in court, the judge says he does not have the jurisdiction so they have to go to another RTC branch or something like that to refile there. So 4 years is wasted on a dumb technicality. Corrupt uncle and thieving wife celebrate another victory.
    At this point, 8 years have gone by since initial discovery. So, how can they keep selling lands? Well, if you want to contest the titles of land, you will need to put a lis pendens on it,,, sorry each individual title and the cost is like P5000 a piece. So instead of making money from the property your parents left behind, it is now costing money.
    It has gone round and round like that for over 15 years now. 1 court date is scheduled every 2-3 months, but only 1 day is actually heard in court cause the judge cancels, its the day before a holiday, the clerk is sick, they are waiting on paperwork, the opposing attorney is sick, his client is sick, or whatever excuse they can come up with not to do the simplest job. So, it actually comes out to 1 court case every 5 months. Thieving uncle and his wife celebrate each time.
    All opportunites to make large sums of money from land leasing have gone. Now after 4 years in another court case with a large piece of land, the court looks like it is finally about to come to an end. Their attorney even says, “we would like to settle now” even though he keeps stalling with BS excuses. However, judge decides he does not want to do civil cases for the next month. Says he is about to retire and shouldn’t be burdened for the next month. Then the month after that he is using his unspent vacation time, and the month after that is holy week/ all saints and they can’t do anything that month either cause its also judges conference, which lasts like 3 weeks. December is no good cause that is Christmas and Judge will be retired in January. That means the case has to get circulated out to a new judge and that takes 1-2 months. Then he has to study the case of course which will take a month and then they have to refresh him on who all the players. So last court date was in Sep (which was cancelled by the judge even though everyone was there an hour waiting for him) and next court date looks like it will be in March, 6 months away. Only Thieving Uncle celebrates this time cause his thieving wife died last year so she is off the hook.

    So, if you can live with yourself after you steal someone else’s property, you will be rewarded for it with no consequences.

    1. Profile gravatar of Angel

      That’s a horrible story. Family screwing you over is the worst in the PH since the courts are always asking you to settle it amongst yourselves. Can’t have that “family ties” get broken now, can we? And I’ve seen how the justice system works there first-hand too, when my mom sued my dad for adultery. The courts were a damned joke! Everything you said about the delays is spot-on.

      1. Profile gravatar of Johnny

        Even Aquino acknowledged when he took office, there were cases still pending from the 60’s. So now, grandkids are taking over and fighting among each other.
        Murder is definitely an option and will make you feel better, but it doesn’t retrieve back what is stolen. At this point, they need my uncle alive to take the witness stand to try and refute the evidence, which of course he can’t. So that is why they are delaying so much. He was supposed to give his testimony about 6 months ago, but has stretched it. Now, with the judge having no concern for other peoples lives or the care for basic right vs wrong, or simply doing his job, it looks like they get an additional 6 months. Thieving Uncle is celebrating some more.
        After the final stage of the trial, the decision will take about 1-2 months and my mom is confident she is going to win, however, they are just going to appeal and reset the process. So, 5 years for the initial trial, 4 years for the appeal, and probably another 3 years when it gets to the next step which is the supreme court I think. So, 12 years total from the time the trial started.
        So, its no wonder nothing ever gets done in this shit-hole country. It’s no wonder why people have learned to cheat each other first chance they get. They have no consequences and the lawmakers are not exactly shining examples of honesty.
        This court case would have been solved in 1-2 months in the USA, maybe even sooner cause the evidence is so overwhelming. However, even with overwhelming evidence, thieving uncle and his wife simply laughed at my mom and the other family member. Tell someone in the USA you are going to sue them and they say, “ok, ok, lets talk about this” if they know they have done something wrong.

        What I say to describe the Filipinos and their thoughts of the justice system is:
        Wed: They cheat you
        Thurs: You confront them, they deny. Say you are going to sue, they laugh
        Fri: They celebrate, treat friends, and brag about it.
        Sun: They go to church cause he/she is a devout Catholic.
        Mon: You file a case
        Tues: They now cry victim and say how dare you.
        (for some reason, they love turning things around so the accused is now a victim of intimidation and the accuser is the guilty person)
        Wed: You provide strong evidence to support your claim, They laugh and say it will take you years and lots of money so not worth it for you.

        So, either you go through all the years of torment, costs, and headaches of a court case, or you let it go. You’d be better off going to law school and suing them yourself. If you decide to let it go, killing them might make up for having them steal it.
        I always tell people here, you want to get filthy rich. Then become the first lawyer in the Philippines who can get court cases done in less than 1 year. You’d be able to charge an acceptance fee of P200,000 pesos, 20,000 a month in retention (for a year), and 10% of the amount won back. People would line up to throw money at you.

        Here is a case of adultery in the Philippines. The poor guy from the UK got caught up in it and had to go to a Philippine jail.

          1. Profile gravatar of Johnny

            I’m pretty sure. The reason for the such similarity in their deception is we both have Filipino Uncles.
            90% of the Filipinos left to manage property or assets for family members who went abroad are going to steal it first chance.

  6. Profile gravatar of Idiotocracy
    Idiotocracy Post author

    Ouch… no wonder some people there take justice into their own hands.

    Bought a used car back in May and of course the LTO is so convoluted you hire the insurance firm to handle the registration for you. Signed all the papers because they knew that I would be gone again in a few days and not back for several months. No problem though, car hadn’t been licensed since 2011, still using 2011 plates, but as it was “in process” you can just drive the car anyway.

    Opps, one more paper needs signed about a week after I left. No problem though because they knew people that were expert forgers that copy signatures. All done? Nope, next trip, at the end of August I went by to pick up the supposedly completed papers only to find out they found a lien that wasn’t on the title. So another 6 K to the fixer to chase down the previous owner who hadn’t cleared the title and get that lien removed.

    Of I realize that the previous owner has little reason to pay off that old mortgage if it still has a balance owed. But you can just drive the car so who cares if I ever get clear title as long as we keep the process going. Car will probably be worn completely out by then.

    1. Profile gravatar of Johnny

      I was going to buy a motorcycle once. They guy selling it was different than the guy on the title. I couldn’t understand this at the time.
      Then someone explained to me thats how its done here. Many times, the buyer doesn’t want to pay the transfer taxes and simply keeps the Deed of Sale as his evidence its his. Now, if the guy commits mass murder and leaves the motorcycle at the scene the police are going to show up to the original owners house.

  7. Profile gravatar of Mike

    Guy I know bought a used car from a filipino. Well the car registration expire in like 2008 or 2010 as first owner never kept it up. So kano goes in with paperwork to get the car in his name only to be told he has to pay all the back registration fees plus penalties. Then he paid for repairs to the car and what happens after the car is fixed up? Here comes the one he bought it from demanding the car back but expecting to get it or free..

    1. Profile gravatar of Idiotocracy
      Idiotocracy Post author

      Uh huh, I believe that story. This vehicle had been sold back in 2011 and the new owner never changed the title to his name, likely because of that lien on the title. So to sell it to me, a sale set up by someone who claimed to be a CPA but turned out not to be, they forged a title showing no liens. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “cpa” was in on the deal. LOL

      In the Philippines it is best to never spend more than you are willing to lose for anything. Be ready to walk away from the investment at the drop of a hat. Suing a few dongs over the 90K spent on the used car would cost three times that in the long run with very little chance of success. Like a later poster said, it is by design, not a systematic flaw.

  8. Profile gravatar of 30-30

    to Mike
    You have to go to yahoo singapore,, yahoo philippines got dumped,, then you click on a philipino story and up pops a page with philippine,, malaysia at the top of the page,, click around u will find it,,
    This happened 2 months ago??

    1. Profile gravatar of Mike

      I ran a search and one came up that said yahoo philippines dumped. Well reading it they said they asked PR dept in philippines why no yahoo philippines. In a nutshell the PR said it was moved to Singapore to be more efficient. Looks like filipinos even fucked up yahoo in their country huh?