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Soft Skill Series: Part 5 – Time Management and Perfectionists


Nailing the dreaded “what’s your biggest weakness?” interview question is a signal of sure-fire success. Clichéd responses around being “a perfectionist” will not cut it.

Candidates often think that by passing off perfectionism (which can seem like a strength) as a weakness they can get around a question designed to trip them up. However, not only have hiring managers and recruiters heard this response many times, but new research shows that perfectionists may be less effective employees than their colleagues. According to the study, perfectionists are more likely to get caught up in trying to produce outstanding work than their less highly strung and ultimately more productive colleagues.

Accountants need to ensure they do not fall into the perfectionist trap – as they are often exceptionally bright and high achieving individuals who set themselves very high standards. While a keen eye for detail is undoubtedly key to professional success in the industry, when faced with a large number of tasks, deadlines and clients it is extremely important that they are able to manage their time effectively and keep a cool head under times of pressure.

With the economic recovery now firmly back on track, workloads are also increasing. Marks Sattin’s latest salary & market trend report revealed that 32% of accountants and finance professionals have seen their working hours increase over the last 12 months, making good time management an ever more important skill for the A-list accountant. Being a perfectionist is no longer fashionable – if indeed it ever was – and juggling a high volume of tasks while maintaining a positive disposition in the workplace is.

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