BlackLine Blog

April 27, 2020

The People Factor: Five Essential Roles for Change Management Teams

Modern Accounting
2 Minute Read

BlackLine Magazine

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Facing a technology changeover has never been easy, and today’s crisis atmosphere adds layers of difficulty beyond what organizations have ever imagined. Yet for many businesses, a technology upgrade is still essential to survival and success, whether it involves transitioning teams to remote operations or adding automated processes in an accounting changeover.

Also essential are the people who will implement the change.

“It’s important not to lose sight of the most critical aspect of any change: the people who will do the planning and building out of the new infrastructure,” says BlackLine Director of Finance Transformation Michael Shultz.

“With accounting groups, finding the right people can be especially challenging because accounting professionals are often overworked to begin with. They don’t always take to the idea of adding more work in the way of a major new technology project.

“And many tend to be set in their ways because they’ve been doing things the same way for years.”

Building the Team

No two organizations are the same, of course. Based on our extensive customer experience, we’ve identified some fundamental roles found in successful transformation teams.

Sponsor. A successful project needs a high-level sponsor to make the connection between each digital finance initiative and the benefits that can be expected. The sponsor may be the CFO, Chief Digital Officer, VP of Finance, or the Controller.

Champion. This is someone with detailed knowledge of current accounting processes, who is engaged and passionate about moving to new technology and able to evangelize the project to others.

Enabler. One or more enablers should be tasked with helping accountants and others associated with the change to understand the workings of the new processes, and see how their roles fit within the larger plan.

Scorekeeper. The scorekeeper should monitor the outcomes of process changes, set key performance indicators, and determine whether the new changes are meeting their target goals.

Communication Is Essential

Essential to success is a robust communication plan. This is necessary for team collaboration and letting others in the organization understand how they may be affected by the change.

We recommend providing regular updates on the latest changes, outcomes, and wins and communicating regularly with all teams to facilitate buy-in.

This can include providing regular updates on the latest changes, outcomes, and wins, conducting “lunch-and-learn” events to facilitate buy-in, and regularly celebrating success.

“It’s important that every employee understands the value that will be coming from the change,” says Shultz.

“Today’s accounting teams are more likely than ever before to be collaborating with business units and other groups across the organization. These people should be kept up to date on what a technology upgrade will mean to them, and how and why it can help them do their jobs better.”

Read this playbook to discover five proven steps for driving organizational and procedural change, including how to measure process performance and continuously improve.

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