Making sure you’ve got your ass covered is almost an art form.
1. Lay the foundation
This is probably the most important. There will always be another task that begins when your work ends. When you hand in a file, a partner will review it and meet with a client. When the partner is done, admin will prepare the bill – and so on. Although it can be stressful, it’s best to keep this in mind. If you can influence the context of these exchanges, then you can increase your impact on them. Think of it as vertical-office-integration. The greater impact you have, the better positioned you are to avoid an unhealthy dose of servage.
2. Follow up voice mail messages with an email
Apparently everyone already does this, except me. It’s a good idea though. For example, if you’re trying to get a hold of someone with respect to a deadline, having some type of evidence, showing you actually contacted that person, will help deflect blame if that deadline is missed.*
3. Speak less
Don’t ask a lot of questions. “A lot” is a pretty relative phrase. Just know there’s a difference between being inquisitive and annoying. Speaking less also reduces the likelihood of making stupid comments – i.e. don’t tell Alec Baldwin the leads are weak 2:05 mark or ask him his name 2:16 mark.
4. Make recommendations not demands
As auditors we often find ourselves questioning how people do their job. Most people don’t like this. If you find yourself in this position, then be diplomatic. Recommend solutions instead of giving them.
5. Read everything
This one caught me by surprise. A lot of people give opinions on things they’ve never read. Over the past 3 months, there have been numerous situations where I’ve been a leg up on people with 20+ years of accounting experience, only because I read the latest EIC, exposure draft, IT bulletin or court case. Do yourself a favour and subscribe to the CICA’s rss feed. Even if you can’t use everything they put out – which is highly likely – it’ll look good on you if you forward it to a partner who can.
*office work is largely “perception work”
Now watch Nyle absolutely kill it