With the pace of change occurring within the accounting profession, firms need a strategy to keep the focus on continuous improvement of the processes that create value for clients and help maintain relevance and profitability in the face of disruption.
One of the most important pillars of Lean Six Sigma is continuous improvement. Its definition might seem self-evident, but continuous improvement isn’t just a lofty aspiration. It’s an active, intentional practice, but what goes into a continuous improvement strategy? We’ve identified three key components:
1. A Point Person
Who is the change agent inside your firm and do they have the tools they need to effectively focus on continuous improvement Often, firms make the mistake of expecting progress from change initiatives without designating a person to lead continuous improvement efforts.
This causes stagnation as projects suffer from a lack of direction and facilitation. Having a Continuous Improvement Lead is the best way to ensure the necessary focus and ownership.
Your firm’s Continuous Improvement Lead can be a manager or partner level CPA, but can also be another member of your team who has a passion for process improvement and leading change. In order to be successful in this role, it is essential to have the proper skills and tools.
The Lean Six Sigma CPA Green Belt Certification teaches breakthrough process improvement strategies, including Lean, project management and workflow strategies that have been proven to improve firm performance.
2. A Community of Peers
Where will you learn best practices and how to avoid common pitfalls? Navigating the waves of change within your firm can feel isolating and staying current increasingly feels like a full-time job, especially for those who attempt to go it alone.
A community of peers can take your firm to the next level by providing benchmarking, discovering solutions to problems, identifying new tools, collaborating with solution providers, sharing ideas and holding each other accountable. With the pace of change today, your firm cannot reinvent the wheel every time you undergo a process improvement project.
3. An Outside Perspective
How will you know you are on the right path? Firm leaders often return from conferences with new ideas and enthusiasm. While the motivation to improve processes and profitability is genuine, putting those ideas into place is often tougher than it first appears.
Whether this is your first time working through a Lean Six Sigma process improvement project or you have a few under your belt, working with an outside consultant can help accelerate continuous improvement in your firm and ensure you are on the right path.
When you consider a continuous improvement strategy for your firm, remember it doesn’t apply strictly to compliance services. Your firm can eliminate non-value added steps, improve the flow of work and build quality into processes across the firm. The pace of change never stops and neither should your commitment to continuous improvement.
The original article appeared on the Boomer Bulletin blog.
About Arianna Campbell
As a Director with Boomer Consulting Inc., Arianna helps accounting firms challenge the status quo by leading process improvement initiatives that result in increased profitability and client satisfaction. She also facilitates the development and cultivation of future firm leaders in The P3 Leadership Academy™ Academy. Internally, she blends concepts from Lean Six Sigma and leadership development to drive innovation and continuous improvement within the company.