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Crunching the numbers

Cambridge finance clerk keeps books at work and home

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Cambridge Bay (Dec 10/01) - Helen Koaha is one busy lady.

Raising two daughters and running a small construction business with her common-law husband would be enough on anyone's plate, But Koaha has other fish to fry: crunching numbers as a finance clerk for the hamlet of Cambridge Bay.

It just happens that Cambridge Bay is short one finance clerk right now, so she's basically doing the work of about one-and-a-half people to make sure the hamlet stays in the black.

"It's mostly accounting, data entry, paying bills," says Koaha, adding that she does "most of the accounts payable," for the hamlet.

Koaha realized about a year ago that she had a gift for numbers, and hasn't looked back. However, the satisfaction of seeing the numbers on a ledger line up perfectly can be a little unnerving.

"Sometimes I get a situation where I say to myself, 'Why are all these numbers coming out right?'"

A life-long resident of Cambridge Bay, the 28-year-old Koaha started working for the hamlet as a casual employee six years ago.

Sandwiched between the hamlet job, the small business, and daughters Kassidy and Kalene, ages three and eight, Koaha somehow managed to find the time to complete a week-long course on ACCPAC offered by Nunavut Arctic College.

ACCPAC is an American company best known for Simply Accounting, a computer program Koaha has to use every day.

"It was really hard," she says with a laugh.

"Especially the general ledger part. You have to know where all your numbers are going."

A head for figures has worked out nicely for Koaha and her husband, Peter Laube.

"It's kind of good for myself, because I can handle the books for the construction business," she says.