Second Set of Eyes: The Value of Redundancy

The idea of redundancy is sometimes associated with inefficiency. However, building in redundancy is often crucial to ensuring continuity and effectiveness in business operations.

Building in redundancy can be applied in various settings, including IT-related backups. A company needs to continue operating if a server crashes or a disaster strikes. Data recovery can only happen if a routine backup (i.e., storing data redundantly) is implemented.

Cross training employees is another area of redundancy. Rather than having only one employee who can perform key functions, build in redundancy by training one or two others. Furthermore, documenting key processes and procedures ensures continuity if a key employee leaves.

Another area for redundancy is accounting and internal controls. For example, have a “second set of eyes” check invoices to customers and payable runs for vendors. Finance professionals, especially accountants who deal with many transactions on a daily basis, get inundated with details and can make mistakes. Having a “second set of eyes” is a great form of redundancy to ensure that mistakes are caught, fraud is prevented, and processes are performed effectively.

Accounting firms are known for hiring young accountants and utilizing the process of reviews as a primary tool for development. Whether the project is a tax return, audit or review, or a consulting project, senior accountants review and mark up the work of the less experienced staff. Not only do the more experienced “second set of eyes” catch mistakes before work products are delivered to customers, but the process serves as a very valuable and enlightening means for younger accountants to quickly and directly learn on the job.

Another opportunity for a “second set of eyes” is with business documents such as contracts and agreements. Small clauses can have large impacts, positive or negative. Take advantage of subject matter experts, such as accountants and lawyers, who can provide a “second set of eyes” to avoid costly mistakes during business negotiations.

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