A Call to Action

by Erin McCune on March 6, 2007

in Change Management, Strategy, Treasury & Cash Management

Promoting Process Improvement Company-wide

Increasing responsibility for operations efficiency and performance management requires a more proactive approach than finance has traditionally held. Financial professionals have a uniquely analytical skill set and holistic perspective to share with colleagues.

The following strategies are useful when promoting process improvement company-wide:

SHARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
As a result of Sarbanes-Oxley process documentation efforts and traditional reporting and analysis responsibilities, the finance department has a uniquely holistic view of the organization. Leading finance professionals share opportunities for improvement that they’ve identified with business line managers – highlighting how the business units will benefit, of course.

ASSIST WITH PROJECT COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS
Financial analysis skills are invaluable in analyzing potential projects and measuring their potential benefits. Coaching managers on calculating ROI and working with project sponsors to develop solid business cases that will obtain approval and project funding is a proven means of supporting process improvement.

LEND RESOURCES
Finance has honed process evaluation and improvement expertise as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley attestation efforts. Put these new skills to use to drive projects throughout the organization by loaning resources to support critical projects.

ENSURE BUSINESS UNITS ENJOY SAVINGS
By promoting internal policies that allow business units to keep and reinvest the savings they generate as a result of process improvement initiatives finance can build momentum. Project sponsors will be motivated by improvements to their own P&L.

Positioning Finance as a Process Improvement Resource

Finance has a broad mandate and an opportunity to promote process improvement throughout the organization. But other departments and executives will not turn to finance for assistance if they are unaware of the talent.

Take advantage of cross functional meetings and impromptu hallway conversations to let fellow managers know how the finance department can help them increase efficiency and improve performance.

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