This is taken from Descartes’ masterpiece, so around 350 years old, but still so relevant to tax professionals today, on both sides of the fence.
Read it, take note & learn!
As a multiplicity of laws often furnishes excuses for evil-doing, and as a State is hence much better ruled when, having but very few laws, these are most strictly observed, so, instead of the great number of precepts of which Logic is composed, I believed that I should find the four which I shall state quite sufficient, provided that I adhered to a firm and constant resolve never on any single occasion to fail in their observance.
The first of these was to accept nothing as true which I did not clearly recognise to be so: that is to say, carefully to avoid precipitation and prejudice in judgements, and to accept in them nothing more than what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly that I could have no occasion to doubt it.
The second was to divide up each of the difficulties that I examined into as many parts as possible, and as seemed requisite in order that it might be resolved in the best manner possible.
The third was to carry on my reflections in due order, commencing with objects that were the most simple and easy to understand, in order to rise little by little, or by degrees, to knowledge of the most complex, assuming an order, even if a fictitious one, among those which do not follow a natural sequence relatively to one another.
The last was in all cases to make enumerations so complete and reviews so general that I should be certain of having omitted nothing.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)