Bulletin HASKINS & SELLS 15
Technique and Common Sense
THERE is perhaps no profession which
is more exacting than accountancy.
Numerous and varied are the small matters
which must receive thoughtful and at times
prayerful attention. In the exuberance
of youth and the enthusiasm for a new job
many a novice has been heard to volunteer
the information that it will not take him
long to acquire the firm's technique and
become a thoroughly useful member of the
staff if not an in-charge accountant.
The accomplishment of proficiency in
the execution of any firm's engagements is
a process, not an act. It cannot be pumped
into the arm by means of a hypodermic
syringe. One picks up a little today and a
little tomorrow. Contact with older men,
observation of accounting methods, discovery
of new information regarding business,
new and strange problems encountered
and solved, inquiry, study, the
application of theory, all contribute,
whether or not the individual involved is
conscious of it, to the process.
But care is always needed in the quest for
technical proficiency lest the simple measures
dictated by common sense be overlooked.
The story is told of a woman
whose vision was impaired by an illness
known as rheumatic iritis. Examination of
the eye and complicated scientific tests of
its condition by famous eye specialists
resulted in the announcement that glasses
would do no good. Yet a bungling optician
who tested the sight with his lenses,
fitted the woman with glasses that enabled
her to see almost as well as ever.
Some men who have learned to use highly
developed accounting methods insist on
using them whether or not they are applicable.
Once a certain set of working papers
is used such men are unable to get the idea
out of their minds that there may be cases
where the same kind of papers will not
apply; because a method has once been
used it must always be used. Tempering
technical work with common sense is one
of the best things a progressive, quick-learning,
new accountant does.