A Story of Communication
Internal accounting departments can sometimes function like a clogged drain. This revelation came as a complete shock to one of our clients. Dismayed that she had to make multiple requests through various channels to get accurate financial data from her own team, this CEO finally had enough and knew that she needed help. With no previous experience outsourcing any functions of her company, and clearly exhausted, she engaged our team.
What did this CEO want? It was summed up in this quote from her during our initial meeting. “I want someone to bring me the critical financial information that I need, when I need it. I don’t want to have to ask for it. I don’t want to have to track it down. I want it to be timely, accurate, and delivered to me in a manner that’s easy to digest.” It was also clear that she didn’t want to replace her team, just make it more effective.
How did we help?
- We prepared a simple data flow diagram indicating the programs and personnel involved in all stages of the company’s current accounting activities and indicated the purpose and timing of each. In this way everyone gained clarity on what they were to do, who it was for, and why it was important. Any peripheral activities were discarded.
- The processes were then reviewed for data integrity. Control points were identified and verification steps added to insure that information was not passed forward until it had been audited.
- From this accurate data, we developed the business information flow in the form of regular analysis delivered to key executives every month. We included reports on product cost and contribution margins, Sales by territory, Marketing campaign results, and overhead by category. A financial reporting calendar was devised and all levels of staff trained to produce their reports in accordance with the content and timing listed.
- We worked directly with the CEO to identify key metrics she needed to follow closely. We created a weekly snapshot monitoring those metrics as well as a monthly Performance Dashboard for her to use in her staff meetings to keep everyone focused on reaching company goals. Her senior staff was able to maintain these reports and she found her entire department performed as a much more cohesive team in light of all these changes.
The company is now unclogged, running smoother, and breathing easier.