Use what you’ve got
Part of the transformation was looking at existing enterprise technologies to see how they could be maximised. As with every business, the information technology portfolio had grown as needs arose, and solutions were configured to address near-term concerns at the time of implementation. The client knew it hadn’t put every feature into operation. We optimised use of that technology portfolio by implementing latent features already resident in technologies that the client possessed to optimise reporting, close processes and do reconciliations.
We also upgraded some platforms. We recruited Trintech software specialists to our team to update the client’s record-to-report application to a current, cloudbased version. We took the same approach to other applications: upversioning the software that was already familiar to users. Sticking with familiar applications obviated software selection, facilitated adoption and change management, and took full advantage of the environment as we found it.
Lead teams through change
The IPA implementation and application upgrades came about via a sweeping analysis resulting in a fit-for-purpose architecture and redesigned processes. Together with the client, we streamlined quality control processes and updated and reconfigured software, helping correct course and reduce dependence on overseas resources.
It would be hard to overstate how critical effective change management was to our efforts. While the finance team was central to executing this initiative, information technology and the business units were also important participants. Additional stakeholders and the complexity of the work made coordination, communication and change management demanding but important parts of this project.
Our success hinged on strong sponsorship. Acceptance of change must start at the top, and the client’s leadership perspective was invaluable to that process. Leaders communicated their vision clearly and articulated the benefits for the entire organisation. Change is difficult, even with dramatic benefits, but these executives’ attitudes cascaded through the organisation down to the practitioner level and ensured swift adoption.
The transformation is poised to deliver remarkable benefits to the company. When current-phase work is complete and implemented, operating costs will be reduced by over 30%.
- Quality improved — IPA yields a higher rate of transaction quality.
- The finance team has capacity to add value to business units — now that IPA has reduced manual QA and systems upgrades have yielded new efficiencies.
- Finance team members gained experience and confidence in identifying and proposing improvements and in planning and implementing their own ideas.
- Third-party risk is under control — now that reliance on manual offshore work has been reduced.
And the journey is far from over. The transformation has opened up new options for the company:
- The finance team is contemplating further automations for more productivity and quality gains.
- The company is considering managed business services to address transaction volume fluctuations.
- The company is evaluating Protiviti’s delivery center option in the U.S. and India for routine work — similar to its offshore service provider but with a focus on process improvement.
This client started the collaboration with Protiviti with one goal in mind: closing out the first quarter of 2020. The client came to recognise the value of a transformation that has resulted in faster and more accurate finance processes, skills and knowledge enrichment for its finance team, as well as new and more resilient options for further growth.