BlackLine Blog

February 08, 2024

Optimizing Intercompany Processes: Mastering the Internal Sell

Digital Transformation
3 Minute Read
JT

Jim Tilk

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Your organization has made an important business decision: to optimize its intercompany processes. And for good reason, since this strategy offers numerous impactful benefits:

  •  It’s an opportunity to conduct a top-to-bottom assessment and evaluate current processes, to see what’s working and what’s not and then translate that into an actionable plan.

  • By automating processes, organizations save a great deal of time - so teams work more efficiently, can manage issues by exception, and focus on meaningful, strategic tasks.

  • The benefits of such a move — a lightning-quick close, minimized tax leakage, and freed-up working capital — are gained across all functions in the enterprise.

 

Yet as an intercompany change agent, you still have a hurdle to overcome - laying the groundwork internally so that all stakeholders are informed and become optimization believers. So how do you go about navigating that part of the change-management journey?

Overcoming Resistance from Within the Company

Resistance on the part of stakeholders is a natural by-product of proposed change. People often want to continue using the same methodologies they’re used to, as long as they perceive that they’re getting the job done well enough.

Overcoming this resistance is essential to a successful optimization journey. Otherwise, the process may take too long, lead to disputes, or fail altogether. Change agents must educate stakeholders on the legitimacy of the mission and the value it can bring to their role.

But how do you convince individuals who would rather share spreadsheets back and forth that they should embrace a more efficient, automated way of doing things? It starts with refining your impact assessment of current processes.

Your Intercompany Optimization Roadmap

Chances are that your organization has previously developed an impact assessment of current processes or a as a way to reach its decision to move forward with intercompany optimization. The assessment explains the “why,” the justification for embarking on this journey.

You should refine this document so that it clarifies how current processes are hampering intercompany efficiencies and how the organization can meet business objectives by improving them.

The assessment should then be leveraged to define a future state vision that identifies “north star” objectives, accompanying metrics, and organizational goals that determine what intercompany optimization success looks like.

This should then be translated into an execution roadmap that translates the objectives into an action plan, aligned to leadership’s essential expectations. The metrics inform what becomes an evidence-based approach to showing stakeholders how the organization is going to reach its optimization destination. 

Armed with these resources, you have a presentation tool to help you make the sell to stakeholders across the intercompany ecosystem.

Getting Your Team in Place

Mastering the internal sell often requires experienced counsel to help you identify key value drivers for each function and present a case that resonates. So, recruit in-house and external partners who can offer helpful input or take an active role in the change-management process.

These team members can include:

  • Change Champions – Individuals who will give a full-throated endorsement of the enterprise completing the intercompany optimization journey and can speak the language of Finance, Accounting, Tax, Treasury, and other functions.

  • Consultants – It sometimes makes sense to look to intercompany external partners familiar with an optimization journey and who have experiences to advise you through various stages of the process.

  • Global Process Owner (GPO) – Accountability is critical to success, and identifying an individual responsible for the intercompany process helps build a service-delivery model with more regional locations, creating synergies and reducing costs.

  • Software Vendor – If you have a solution partner in mind, such as BlackLine, that can leverage automation capabilities to simplify and positively transform intercompany processes, you might want to leverage their experiences with similar customers for ideas and solutions. Why pioneer a unique solution when odds are there are readily available use cases with supporting metrics at your disposal?

With your optimization team in place, you’re ready to make the internal sell to stakeholders and, ultimately, gain their buy-in.

Reaching Out to Key Functions

It’s at this point that communication takes on a critical role. Consistent, ongoing communications across functions will help mitigate concerns and resistance to change so that all stakeholders are kept informed about the strategy, appreciate how their operations will improve intercompany operations, and become believers.

At the heart of your presentation is showing how each function’s work will exponentially improve through visibility to high-quality, accurate data. Some “pitches” would include the following concepts:

  • Automation makes your life easier. Streamlining and simplifying intercompany processes by replacing time-consuming, manual tasks with automated ones and adopting a best-of-breed solution will save time, shorten the close, free up working capital, and instill confidence in decision-making.

  • Morale gets a boost. Because teams will be free from having to continually reconcile imbalances, they can manage by exception and stay focused on more meaningful, strategic tasks. Such improvements will positively impact the entire organization, including functions that won’t directly interact with the new platform.

  • We’re all connected. One challenge of managing intercompany operations is the fact that functions often work in silos without much communication or collaboration. Yet the quality of everyone’s work is dependent on the quality of data that enters the system at any point in the intercompany ecosystem. Optimization breaks down barriers and provides visibility so that all functions work with the same, accurate data.

An Intercompany Process Improvement Opportunity

As a result of developing an impact assessment, gathering your team in place, and mastering the internal sell, you and other change agents can help your organization follow an efficient, intercompany optimization journey. By educating stakeholders on the benefits of optimization, they understand why the organization is taking this step and how it improves the way they conduct their work. It’s a surefire recipe for making intercompany optimization a reality with an “everybody wins” outcome that ensures efficient and smooth implementation and deployment.


Want to keep diving into how to make meaningful intercompany changes? Watch this on demand webinar to learn:

  • The top challenges organizations face with intercompany and their impacts

  • How a “process plus technology” approach differentiates leading businesses

  • How BlackLine helps overcome these challenges so your organization can realize significant value

WEBINAR

Transforming Intercompany: Breaking Down Barriers

Watch Now

About the Author

JT

Jim Tilk