Every time I get with a group of our Young Professionals, they remind me of the challenges of being a CPA in today's fast-paced, resource-strapped (i.e. under-staffed) environment. Inevitably, they say that they have not been properly trained or mentored to supervise or manage staff.
Having just got back from the Lean Accounting Summit in Orlando, I found a few tips that might help you from the Training Within Industry group. This group has its roots in the US Government's attempts to deal with a severe worker shortage during World War II. It ultimately made its way to Japan and became a major part of the famous Toyota Production System which is known for worker loyalty, productivity, and results. I thought you would be interested in these handy tips, so here they are:
1. Break Down the Job - List all of the details of the job (steps, materials, processes) exactly as done currently. (Note: this is great use of "sticky notes" on a white board).
2. Question Every Detail - Use these types of questions (WHY is it necessary? WHAT is the purpose? WHERE should it be done? WHEN should it be done? WHO is the best qualified to do it? HOW is the 'best way' to do it?
3. Develop the New Method - using these easy six steps:
- ELIMINATE unnecessary details
- COMBINE details when practical
- REARRANGE details for better sequence
- SIMPLIFY all unnecessary details
- Work out your ideas with others (to harness their creativity and gain buy-in)
- WRITE UP the proposed new method
4. Apply the New Method
- SELL your proposal to the boss
- SELL the new method to the team
- Get FINAL APPROVAL of all concerned on cost, quality, quantity, etc.
- PUT the new method to WORK and use it until a better way is developed.
- Give CREDIT where credit is due.
Sound familiar? This is also what we learned in accounting as a "walk-through" to understand transactions. Follow a transaction or process all the way through the system to look for opportunities to improve it.