Why can some companies close their books faster than others? Why do some ERP implementations deliver a much higher ROI than others? In short, these companies have changed the mind set in accounting to continually strive for process improvements as part of their daily operations.
Insufficient staff size, lack of proper training and project planning are the typical causes for delayed closings or incomplete ERP implementations. Although these issues can be quickly addressed, in order to achieve significant process improvement and system utilization, you must address the reluctance to change inherent in accounting. Rightly so, accounting is based upon industry standards, best practices and processes that are developed within an organization over time. Unfortunately, those processes have not kept up with business and technology changes.
In order to optimize closing or ERP implementations, companies recognized they needed to create a culture in accounting to match that of their engineering staff. Like their engineering colleagues, these accounting departments have developed an approach to continually strive for process improvements, optimize software functionality and embrace change. In 1989, I was lucky enough to see the development of this type of culture in a government contractor. For over 30 years, I utilized that approach to develop an implementation methodology both at a software vendor and later at a SaaS company I founded.
I have documented the process into eight phases to help organizations create a similar culture. The eight phases include:
- Defining Your Approach to Closing – Changing your expectations and mindset in accounting to close your books in 2 days, or less.
- Approaching Your Staff – There will be resistance and your approach is important.
- Initial Process Review – The issues uncovered will surprise you.
- Simple Changes – Small victories to build momentum.
- Continually Monitoring Data – Process improvement beyond accounting.
- Speed of Technology – Automation and integration is well worth the investment.
- Audit Preparation – Manage the process and scope.
- Continual Improvement – Staff embraces the mind set and continually looks for improvements.
Developing the environment in accounting to continue process improvements, embrace technology and anticipate change is one part of being a CFO. Jezior Advisors offers a virtual CFO to help develop this culture in your organization. Please email me directly with any questions
The next article posting “Your approach to Closing” will help you develop your understanding of the changes needed.