Similar to maintaining the pending list, accountants are endlessly preparing, updating, and reporting their current status.
If you thought twitter asking “What are you doing?” gets old, just try and imagine working with accountants who constantly ask what are you doing all day long. It is important for accountants to set action items and get status updates approximately 100 times a day.
As to be expected with anything accountants work on, accountants lose the plot very easily. That is, accountants spend more time figuring out what is going on than actually getting things done. In this case, accountants who micromanage and ask for non-stop status updates have the lost the plot since nothing ever gets done. Correction, nothing ever gets done but the status is kept up to date.
Status updates tend to carry over to accountants’ social lives. Have you ever noticed that your accountant friends update their facebook status incessantly? Don’t blame the accountants, as it’s just a Pavlovian response to the status box.
If you were to look through an accountant’s e-mail, it would be full of requests for status updates and sent updates to different reporting levels. This is acceptable as accountants don’t need to get any real work done as long as they communicate to higher ups what still needs to be done.
Too many frequent status updates are pointless and hinder efficiency. Instead of constantly micromanaging as accountants do, it would be more effective to have specific goals set out and let capable accountants below them work out the details. A little breathing room to get what needs to be done goes a long way. Note: don’t actually try and explain this to an accountant as it will utterly confuse them.
Accountants are good at updating their status to reflect that other people should be blamed for delays. Throwing people under the bus is the way of life for accountants.
When working with an accountant, you may ask them for a status update, but doing so every 20 minutes would be considered taking advantage of them even though they are used to this.