Accountants: How to Recover After Making a Mistake

You made a mistake at work. There’s no point pretending it didn’t happen, or brushing aside the severity of it. In fact, owning the mistake is the first step in a process that offers you a good shot of emerging with both your job and professional brand intact.

Step 1: Admit the Error
Timeliness is everything. Ask to meet with your manager. Explain your error and apologize immediately. If the mistake was a social misstep with a co-worker or cross-functional colleague, same rules apply. No excuses. No justifications.

Read5 Templates That Will Make Saying I’m Sorry So Much Easier” to get specific examples of how to apologize in different circumstances.

Step 2: Offer a Solution
Outline the steps that you’ll take to ensure that the mistake does not happen again. Perhaps there was a flaw in your process/approach that led to the error. It’s likely that your manager will appreciate the fact that you’ve given some thought about how to take corrective action.

Step 3: Be Open to Feedback
Defensive only works in driving.  Be open to any feedback your manager provides.

ReadHow to Accept Feedback in Your Accounting Job” to learn how to receive constructive criticism and benefit from it.

Step 4: Own the Consequences
An apology goes a long way, but it doesn’t mean that your mistake won’t come with consequences. Whether it’s official disciplinary action, or reassignment of duties, own whatever consequences come your way.

Step 5: Deliver
It’s time to rebuild trust and deliver for your team and manager. In fact, go above and beyond wherever possible. Show everyone that the mistake was an anomaly, not an indicator of future performance.

Step 6: Be a Consummate Professional
Be highly professional in everything that you do. Produce top quality work, make sure emails reflect a professional tone and avoid office politics wherever possible.

Key Takeaways
You can recover from a mistake at work. Apologize immediately and arrive at your manager’s office with a plan to avoid future mistakes. Be open to feedback, and accept whatever consequences come your way. Work harder and deliver consistently good work. Ultimately, by showing yourself to be a top performer, people will move on and so will you.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

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