As an accountant I am often asked if I am (& sometimes I’m accused of being) a perfectionist. I wholeheartedly disagree by saying “I’m interested in outcomes, not perfection”. If we strive for perfection we spend too much time on tasks that are not valuing adding. A simple rule of thumb is to measure an action by if it increases the value of the outcome you are working on, if yes do it, if no, direct your efforts elsewhere…(just make sure you consider the human aspects and impacts in this equation!)
Many technical accounting tasks need to be 100% correct and trained professionals have a collection of tools and techniques to make sure they are. Compare this though to the ‘perfect budget’; the minute any budget is implemented it is outdated, as variances are assured. However, an effective budget clearly shows your plans and what outcomes you are after. Regular reporting then explains the budget-to-actual variances, giving you transparent insights into where you are, compared to where you thought you would be. It will not be perfect, but will be an invaluable tool to help you keep on track.
Awareness and monitoring of the different technical, management and strategic aspects of your business are important. Make sure you ‘keep your eye on the ball’ and spend enough time working on your business, not just in it. Find the tools you need to monitor and measure the outcomes you are after; these are your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that are usually reported through dashboards and/or your regular management reporting packs. These KPI’s should be a mixture of financial and non-financial indicators that measure the past and help you have insight into the future, therefore enabling you to monitor and respond as needed, but keep focused on the bigger picture.
If you aim to keep your thinking based on achievement of your organisational goals, then work out the varied outcomes that are required to achieve these goal, you can lift your thinking and re-frame how you see perfection.