In praise of “back office” - Nosy Crow Skip to content
Posted by Kate, January 15, 2018

In praise of “back office”

On Thursday, Stela, our assistant accountant, passed the last of the set of exams for which she’s been studying for four years. We gave her flowers (rather lovely orange and purple ones, though I say so myself: I spent ages in Borough Market choosing them and watching the bunch being assembled). Stela studied for these exams in her third language (she’s originally from Bulgaria, but lived in Greece for several years), and she did so while bringing up her twin boys, who started nursery this school year. So after she’d bathed the boys and put them to bed, she’d study debt factoring, which would be my own idea of hell. She’s now an Accounting Technician and member of the Association of Accounting Technicians.

It’s great when any of the Crows achieves something, but I thought that it was particularly worth celebrating Stela today.

Because from the outside, I think that it looks as if publishing is just deciding what books will be published and then what the cover should look like. And that, of course, IS what publishing is (it’s a biggish part of my job, for example), but publishing is also paying printers and authors and illustrators and the people who supply our printer cartridges and envelopes; it’s managing our relationship with our bank; it’s making sure that we get paid by our distributor and by publishers in Albania and Ukraine (we have yet to sell rights in languages beginning with alphabetical letters beyond U); and it’s doing a whole bunch of absolutely necessary but to many of us in the business (but not, luckily, Stela) quite, um, dull things.

Adrian does these sorts of things as well as Stela (he does contracts too, and I was once a contracts manager for Faber and Faber and hated it beyond all imagining so I have huge respect for him there), and he and Stela are essential to the day-to-day functioning of Nosy Crow as a business, and know stuff that, honestly, no-one else in the business knows or knows how to do.

It’s one of the interesting things about running a growing business: the bigger we get the less I know about the detail of what everyone else does, and the more there are people in the business who do stuff I couldn’t begin to do.  Stela is one of those people. So yay for Stela!

See more: