Getting Comfortable with "Good Enough"

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We have an interesting blog post on Managing Perfectionism in an Imperfect World – a topic I struggled with when I was in public accounting, and I'm sure many of our readers encounter problems in this arena as well. Keep in mind that I worked in the pre-paperless world where scanners and electronic document management systems did not exist. Our document management system was a file room with minimal security. But I had a system, and I taught workshops at my accounting firms on how to create stellar tax workpapers.

My annual appraisals were filled with glowing compliments on how exceptional my recordkeeping was, how no numbers fell through the cracks, how you could open a file I had prepared years ago and immediately find exactly what you were looking for in terms of the source of a number on the tax return and the accompanying documentation supporting the deduction. And then my appraisals would spiral downward into how many hours I was billing and how hard it was to bill that time to clients, and couldn't I please find ways to streamline my workflow so that I wouldn't eat up so much time (but still keep up the good work on those workpapers!).

The point of the post referenced above is key – your concept of perfect isn't going to be the same as that of the others with whom you work. In particular, your superiors are likely to have their own ideas about how something should be done, and probably have specific expectations of what they want from you. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what is expected of you (and how much time it should take!) before you start that next task.


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