Five Signs That it is Time to Improve Business Processes


Change Is Constant

The only thing that is constant in today’s world is change and the rate at which change occurs is only getting faster.


Every business uses processes every day to accomplish routine tasks, but are your processes keeping up with the ever-changing needs of your organization?


Process Makes Progress

Business processes are intended to streamline effort and aid in the consistent delivery of impactful results. Oftentimes, however, businesses are so focused on acquiring new customers and launching new products and services that they fail to spend the necessary time reviewing and analyzing the very processes they need in order to grow. Failure to identify and remedy outdated or inefficient processes is costing you valuable time and customers.


Read the Signs

So what are the signs you need to improve your processes?

Outdated or lack of desktop procedures (DTPs), documentation, training manuals and company directives


DTPs are training tools that outline job-specific or company-wide policies and procedures that help employees perform their duties correctly and keep your business running efficiently. DTPs must be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, however, to be effective in helping to back-fill positions for those on vacation and sick leave, as well as those positions that experience high turn-over. SOLUTION:

Creating DTP templates and taking the time to review and update DTPs helps strengthen efficiencies, deliver best practices, and provide cross-training. Updated DTPs create transparencies throughout an organization regarding employee responsibilities and ensure your customers will receive the quality products and service they expect – regardless of who is doing the job.


Manual processes, lack of automation or standardized procedures

Manual processes involve humans performing tasks, such as data entry, while automated processes involve machines (or software) performing tasks, such as report generation. Manual processes offer many of the same perks as an automated workflow, but typically contain more intermediary steps which can lead to mistakes and wasted time.


SOLUTION:

Advancements in technology have given rise to an explosion of applications that can automate just about any process. Automated processes cut out the middle man as well as unnecessary intermediate steps which reduces human errors.


While the shift to automated processes requires an initial financial investment as well as time to install software and train employees, data consistently shows that such a shift results in an average of a 50% increase in employee productivity1 and a 25% decrease in operational costs2.



Recurring late journal entries or balance adjustments, delays in closing the books


Organizations rely on the accurate and timely delivery of financial reports and statements that are generated during close to make critical decisions for the next accounting period. Miscalculations based on old or inaccurate information can raise an organization's tax bill, trigger an audit that results in fines, or worse, cause issues meeting payroll. In addition to potential miscalculations, finance teams devote enormous time and energy to what should be a smooth operation. These delays and adjustments can be caused by a patchwork of systems, manual processes prone to error, time constraints that prevent double-checking, and siloed knowledge.


SOLUTION:

While automating the accounting close process is possible for some organizations, streamlining the process is more realistic for the vast majority. This can be accomplished by setting and communicating timing expectations, creating standard processes for closing, automating as much as possible, and improving accessibility to financial information.


This process takes diligence and does not happen overnight, but being able to utilize your Accounting team for what they were hired to do, rather than spending five to eight days closing, will be well worth it.


Heavy reliance on spreadsheets versus Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or other comparable systems

Excel is the most preferred program to begin your business journey because it’s great to gather, organize and sort data. Many growing companies, however, still rely on spreadsheets for modeling and data analysis even after Ray Panko’s 2005 meta-analysis suggested that 88% of spreadsheets have 1% or more errors.4The vast majority of those were human errors such as data entry mistakes, incorrect formulas, and copying and pasting the wrong information.

As your business grows, you need a way to reduce errors and provide accurate analytics to help make better business decisions. Enter ERP.


SOLUTION:

ERP helps to efficiently manage all aspects such as finance, HR, manufacturing, supply chain, services, and procurement in an integrated system and is often referred to as the system of record of the organization.

ERP and comparable systems are superior in terms of data reliability, user control, and enterprise collaboration. ERP greatly reduces the potential for human error and provides centralized control, opportunity for collaboration, and real-time data insights.


Management reporting / dashboards need a facelift


Dashboards are used to present large amounts of information in a condensed, visual form. They are meant to be represented on a single screen, make an efficient use of the space, avoid excessive graphics, and include actionable, meaningful and relevant data. Many dashboards, however, are poorly designed, contain too much or irrelevant information, and incorporate incorrect or outdated data rendering the dashboard ineffective.


SOLUTION:

It’s not uncommon for significant decisions to be based on the information presented in a dashboard. Users need to be able to quickly identify trends, patterns, parallels, and differences - all of which lead to actionable insights. This can be accomplished by providing relevant and timely data within a thoughtful design and layout, leading to making the complex simple and telling a clear story.


How Horn Can Help

The signs say you need to shake things up and make changes, but you aren’t sure where to start and are concerned about the time involved. This is where Horn Solutions can help.


Our team of business process consultants at Horn Solutions helps organizations of all sizes to align processes with overall strategy. Our team can provide the following to assist your organization successfully navigate process improvements to support key business functions:

  • Evaluate current processes to establish a baseline to measure needs and requirements

  • Perform a gap analysis based on the evaluation

  • Establish and develop project plans, resource needs, budgets, and timelines

  • Provide resources for the Project Management Office (PMO) in regards to project direction, execution, and status

  • Provide additional resources for the project team during process implementation

  • Complete documentation of new processes

  • Prepare and deliver training for company employees for the new processes

  • Identify continuous improvement opportunities and KPI’s to measure performance

Read more on business process improvement.


Want to start improving your processes? Get on the Horn and reach out to our business process consultants today!