I am assigned with preparing and distributing a routine weekly financial report; my senior coworker is assigned with double checking it before I send it out.

My manager and the quality checker (senior team lead) usually communicate more frequently with each other than with me.

Today, the e-mail I sent had mistakes based on what the quality checker made. They were quite obvious mistakes anyone could have spotted had they re-read the whole report carefully. However, it is a very, very lengthy report, and basically the very last thing I receive before leaving the office; also, I have to distribute what he sends back to me at a very specific time, and end of day is when it's most chaotic and I have loads of new tasks coming in. There is very little or no time to re-read it.

In essence, there is a very brief and workload intensive timeframe between the moment I can start building the report (based on external news/data at a very specific time) and the moment I have to distribute the final version.

If I had to go above and beyond my responsibilities, I would always try to proofread it, but proofreading (for a second time) is not my basic responsibility. So I would not see it as my fault.

My manager asked me for an explanation of this mistake with the entire team CC'd (including the quality checker).

Should I reply with the whole story (pointing out specifically that the origin of the mistake was not mine but my senior coworker's)?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., CMW, CincinnatiProgrammer, Rhys, gnat Feb 3 '14 at 10:23

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    I think you need to revisit youtr attitude towrds your assignments, of course it is your responsibility to check any changes. The report is your responsibility and you have to do whatever it takes to get it done correctly. Just becasue it was the end of the day is absolutely no excuse. And I would never consider any financial report as routine. Real decisions are made from such reports, mistakes are a BIG deal. – HLGEM Jan 31 '14 at 18:29
  1. Bring it up with the quality checker
  2. Work out a solution to prevent it happening
  3. Apologize to your boss

Have a Chat with the Quality Checker

The quality checker may not realize that there was a careless mistake in there. That is bad, but you didn't catch it either so you can't really throw stones. I'd have a friendly chat and say something like:

Hey Alice, thanks for checking my reports. Last week it looks like there was a small mistake in there that we both missed. Can we work out a way to prevent this from happening in the future?

Find a Solution

If this was added by them, but you are always good at making no mistakes in your portion, then perhaps you can have them include in the checked report a list of anything they touched. Depending on what software you use to create the report, there may be a track changes feature so you can review any edits prior to submitting it to your boss. Maybe because it's so rushed, you can push up the time when you start the process. At any rate, you want to come to a solution that is non-accusatory and actually prevents the problem in the future.

It Was Your Fault

As you say:

They were quite obvious mistakes I could have spotted if had I re-read the whole report carefully.

You didn't re-read it carefully. Live and learn. If you have hammered out a solution, I would say something to my boss like:

Sorry boss, I should have re-read the report carefully before sending it out. I'll be more careful catching careless errors in the future. I talked with the quality checker and we will do A, B, and C to prevent this type of mistake in the future. Is there anything I can do to fix the mistakes made this time?

If your boss is angry prior to having time to hammer out a solution, then you can instead say something like:

Sorry boss, I should have re-read the report carefully before sending it out. Is there anything I can do to fix the mistakes made this time? I am going to talk with the quality checker to work out a way to prevent these mistakes from slipping through in the future, let me know if you want me to keep you informed on what changes.


In simple terms, it was your fault. Whether you do a proof read of the report or not is not the concern of your manager or that of your quality checker.

  • Speak with your lead and tell him the actual process you follow (of not proof reading). This will prevent tensions between your lead and you.
  • Speak with your manager in person and explain to him the actual problem. Place the facts as they are. Don't make it sound like you are placing the blame on your lead. Accept that you should have proof read it but you couldn't because of the chaotic nature at the end of the day.
  • Reply on the mail with an apology. Don't go in depth about the problem in the group mail. Just apologize for the misses and let it rest.
  • Initiate a new thread with your manager with your lead in CC and capture the points you would have raised in the in-person meeting you had with your manager about the miss (this acts as a written proof that you had a proper discussion with your manager and a conclusion was reached).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.