This article originally appeared in Strategic Finance Magazine, and is part 3 of this blog series. Read Part 1 here.
Driving process changes is a team sport, so once roles and responsibilities are defined, you’ll want to ensure your team runs like one. Here are some key areas to consider.
Create a Vision Statement
Work with your Sponsor to craft a vision statement for the accounting and finance organization, such as the goals for the organization by 2020 or 2022.
These may include:
- Driving efficiencies from automation in core accounting areas such as financial close, intercompany accounting, reporting, and reconciliations
- Allocating more time to business partnering
- Building a greater competency in strategic planning and analytics.
Identify high-level gaps and obstacles between your current and future states and create a milestone-based roadmap.
Empower Your Champions
Engaging Champions can help you operationalize the organization’s vision by establishing collaborative, cross-functional teams. These teams should include front-line accounting and finance team members who can identify the processes that are ripe for reinvention.
Pat Withrow, Accounting Director at The Dow Chemical Company, understands the importance of carefully reevaluating the way things are currently done. He says, “We revisited our policies and processes and knew that small changes weren’t going to deliver the productivity improvements we needed.”
Measure Your Progress
As you roll out the change program, leverage Enablers who are incentivizing and enabling talent to adapt new work processes, such as transitioning Excel-based reconciliations to the digital cloud.
Scorekeepers should measure progress using quantifiable metrics to gauge success period-over-period, with feedback to the broader team on adoption and results.
Proactively Tackle Key Obstacles
What are some of the critical obstacles you’ll likely face on the road to change? Common issues range from a poorly-defined vision that lacks buy-in to a reliance on tools that Finance and Accounting can’t own and manage themselves.
Andrew Parris, Director of Shared Services at Tarmac used this approach: “We assessed systems and people to ensure minimal disruption. We created a communication program and followed a standard change methodology to create the vision and sustain buy-in.”
McKinsey recently identified six common obstacles that change management initiatives face, and solutions to overcome them.
Incentivize Change & Empower Ownership
Digital finance transformation and change management go hand in hand. Defining, enabling, communicating, and measuring change is a powerful way to ensure the maximum ROI from the latest technology.
Without change, many organizations risk running old processes on new technology, tapping into only a fraction of their value.
Achieving digital finance transformation requires the right solutions, owned and managed by Accounting and Finance to drive change from within, and tools to ensure ongoing training and measurement. It also requires the accounting and finance team itself to commit to change by setting a clear vision and roadmap, defining roles and responsibilities, and investing in continuous improvement.
Read this CFO Playbook to go deeper into how to chart your organization’s course to finance transformation.