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5 ways to sweat the small stuff and impress your CFO

Want to get on your managing partner’s good side? Don’t let the details slide.

In a survey by staffing firm Accountemps, more than one-third (35 percent) of CFOs cited lacking attention to detail or sloppy work as the most annoying behavior by coworkers. For 28 percent of respondents, gossiping or engaging in office politics was their biggest pet peeve.

CFOs were asked, “Which one of the following coworker behaviors annoys you the most?” Their responses:

Missing deadlines17%Being perpetually late12%Presenting other’s ideas as one’s own8%

Lacking attention to detail or sloppy work 35%
Gossiping or engaging in office politics 28%

“Staff members shouldn’t rely on others to catch their mistakes,” said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps. “Organizations benefit when employees slow down to review a project carefully before submitting because there is less need for revisions later and reduced risk that uncaught mistakes damage the companies’ reputation. Hitting the ‘pause button’ also allows professionals to think about how they work, and whether there are better and more innovative approaches they can take.”

5 ways to improve your work quality

To meet expectations for work quality—and avoid earning a reputation as a sloppy worker—Accountemps suggests professionals apply the following five strategies:

  1. Reduce distractions. Checking emails while proofreading a critical report or perusing social media while performing complicated calculations can lead to embarrassing mistakes. Set aside dedicated time to focus solely on a task, while avoiding outside “noise” like texts and emails.
  1. Simplify big projects. Large and complex assignments can be overwhelming—which can, in turn, lead to procrastination. In the mad dash to meet a deadline, mistakes can easily be made. Avoid this scenario by dividing work into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  1. Take a break. Spending long hours on the computer can be exhausting. A short pause during the workday or stepping out of the office can help give fresh perspective when returning later to the assignment.
  1. Enlist help from coworkers. Build time into the process for a trusted colleague to provide a “second pair of eyes” to check accuracy and work quality. Be sure to acknowledge that person’s contributions and reciprocate in the future.
  1. Take time to assess expectations. Meet briefly with your manager at the start of a complex assignment to discuss goals and clarify any outstanding issues.

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