Throughout my entire career, systems have been continually revamped to keep up with technology. Now that the rate of change is accelerated, can you imagine what even the next five years will bring?
When focused on getting a new, improved system in place, it’s easy to target the technological changes and tactical steps to update processes and meet deadlines. However, it can also be easy to forget some of the more basic essentials that are part of process change.
Process improvement has become a permanent staple of today’s accounting and finance landscape. Here are three best practices to help you successfully implement change.
- Know why the process is changing.
Sometimes we are so focused on the new way of doing things, we discard existing systems that are working well. Be sure that the change really is required, and being made for the right reasons.
If you don’t agree with the reason for the change and the management team is moving forward anyway, look for the upside. It’s your responsibility to support decisions made by the organization, and shifting your perspective by focusing on the positive will go a long way.
- Define the goal so success can be measured.
Another common mishap is to be so focused on changing the process that we forget why we decided change was necessary in the first place.
Start with the end in mind, and work backward to develop a strategy that will help you achieve that goal. Give yourself some checkpoints along the way to ensure you are going in the right direction.
- Don’t forget the people.
The truth is, process is about people, and… accountants aren’t exactly known for loving change! Engage your team members throughout this process, encouraging them to contribute, share opinions, and ideally, participating in making the change happen.
Keep in mind those outside the department who may rely on this process, or the auditors who are responsible for monitoring the results.
Creating the highest level of buy-in is key, as most of us adapt far more quickly when we have a say in how our lives are being changed.
Success is more likely if you include your teams in every process change. You may not incorporate all ideas, but truly listening and evaluating their opinions makes a greater difference that you may think.
Read this blog to learn more about how to successfully improve your accounting and finance processes.