Time Wasted vs. Ethical Decision Making

It must be human nature, but people always look for shortcuts, especially when it comes to government standards and ethical boundaries.  I do contribute this a great deal to performance.  The sales person trying to get that last sale in before the deadline, money that is hidden for taxing or transfer purposes, contracts not following guidelines, or the manager trying to slide something past executives because he feels it will never come into play.  The list goes on and on…  We all want to perform well, but the hidden penalties are often not worth the time or effort.

I am a huge analytics person.  I like seeing things on spreadsheets and viewing it in 10 different ways.  I have recently taken on a project where I am analyzing the work done to fix problems against work done with the correct method.  More times than not, it takes a tremendous amount of work to fix something that could have been done correctly in the first place.  I’ve often heard the saying, “the one time we get caught is worth it.”  Is it really?

The percentage of shortcuts taken in regards to getting caught might be low, but the cost to correct those actions often more than make up for the variance.  Most shortcuts begin because it will be more costly or take more time to correctly take certain actions.  In the big picture, that’s not the case.  People need to learn to look at the big picture and watch your bottom line.  Also, people that don’t often have knowledge of the cost should be educated on the cost of correcting items.  Many people not in the finance or accounting role don’t often see the time and cost of “extra” action items.  Even if it’s sending emails and having one person change something, it’s all time that people are accruing costs for.  Nobody works for free.  If you broke it down to the micro level, the costs of simple items often take up very large percentages on your balance sheet.  We all need to learn that shortcuts do affect everyone around us, and remember, BE KIND TO YOUR ACCOUNTANT!


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