At one of the UK’s leading retailer of electrical and electronic equipment, the financial close process was seen to be too time consuming: additional time needed to be freed up to be spent on more valuable activities.
It called in a team led by one of Novo Altum’s directors to review and re-design its procedures in order to streamline activities and increase the value delivered.
Within just two months the strategy he implemented halved the “time to close” in line with the client’s targets and reduced the manpower consumed by the process.
Taking eight days to complete and very manually intensive, it was clear to our director that the existing close process was highly inefficient. Since it had evolved over time, the critical path was not well understood and a disproportionate amount of effort was expended.
Moreover, the process was mechanical, with too little time spent on analysis of the resulting outputs, and its unwieldy nature distracted the Finance function from more value adding activities.
Implementing a successful solution would require extensive expertise and sound leadership skills to challenge inefficient processes and guide the improvement process in close collaboration with the client.
Through an innovative combination of analysis and client/consultant workshops, our director engineered a fast track improvement strategy which involved critically evaluating the steps in the process and the value they added, developing and testing a target process hypothesis, planning for implementation and supporting the first live close cycle.
Consulting expertise had to be used as efficiently as possible, so he created a “virtual” client team, whose members both provided their expertise on the current process and were given work tasks to complete to strict deadlines, to support the process re-design and confirm the validity of proposed changes.
Our director’s experience of fast close processes and his efficient approach to consulting enabled the project to move from initial analysis to implementation within only a two month timeframe.
The re-designed process achieved the targeted reduction in time to close (from 8 to 4 days) and massively reduced the manual effort involved, freeing up manpower for other more valuable activities.
And the Finance team, who had previously been unable to take a proper Christmas break, can now do so!