Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Giving Feedback

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” – Harvey S. Firestone

I have heard some real horror stories about performance feedback over my years in the CPA profession. Most of it happens relating to client engagements. I always warn new college graduates entering the profession that they should keep in mind that accountants have a critical nature.

Think about it. CPAs are trained to find mistakes!

Older, more experienced accountants “train” newer ones by giving them review notes. Review notes are usually in writing and communicate to the new person everything they did wrong. Firms often seem like a “find the mistake” culture. Auditors are looking for mistakes. Tax accountants are looking for mistakes made by the prior CPA.

When it comes to the more formal performance evaluation (quarterly, semi-annually), accountants do a better job. I think they have learned over the years that these sessions need to be given more thought, scripted, and delivered in an encouraging manner.

Suzanne Lucas (@realevilhrlady), in an article via Inc., gives us some examples of “12 Horrible Things Found In Performance Appraisals.” Thank goodness, I don’t think these things happen in CPA firms. That being said, I imagine some staff members in some firms can give you some eye-opening stories about their performance evaluation sessions.

Lucas advises that every performance review should contain information that meets three criteria:

  • Actionable
  • Relevant
  • Measurable

Be sure to read the article for what these three things really mean.

  • "Strive for continuous improvement instead of perfection."
  • Kim Collins

Leave a Reply