“Financial” or “Management” Accounting, what is it YOU need?

“Finance ‘Business Partnering’ is driving positive and tangible results in Progressive, Innovative and Successful Organizations”

 

by Steen Nielsen – Associate | Finance & Business Operations Management – July 2017

 

In most organizations Finance & Accounting teams sit on a mountain of ‘mega-data’ and information that is derived from expensive ERP systems and presented in a raft of daily, weekly, and monthly reports. They receive and book expense vouchers, get to see more HR data then one can imagine, they know a company’s customers, certainly the ones that fail to pay on time, they know that there is product in the supply chain that is not moving and they understand the interdependencies between systems and reports….

 

So, why is it then that they fail to communicate all this information in a succinct, simple, impactful manner?

 

Finance Staff are typically dedicated and loyal to their cause and from my experience they are often in the team that works the longest hours. No matter in what company I served during my career I see the same pattern. This is not to say other teams do not put serious work into their jobs. It is just that somehow a Finance person’s profile is one of love for details and an inability to stop before they are 101% certain numbers are correct. The oddity is that, despite what one has learned in school accounting is not a science where one can simply draw a line under a number following a long and protracted mathematical calculation and then claim that this number is the one to be cast in stone and ‘bet the farm on’… there are always ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’.

Add to this that stereotypical Finance Department employees tend to be introverted and they often struggle to communicate their findings, let alone their feelings – they focus on Financial Accounting (hard facts) activities as opposed to Management Accounting (scenario playing, forecasting, risk management). In summary they do not bounce off well with ‘loud’ (or more extroverted) people in ‘The Business’ who tend to communicate and interact based on ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’ (often as opposed to ‘facts’ and ‘data’).

Perhaps then now you can begin to see the frustration a General Manager responsible for a business or a business unit often faces when dealing with the Accounts Department and the information provided by ‘Finance’.

Here are some frustrations I have seen expressed from the General Manager’s perspective:

I can’t get my numbers on time, give it to me now! HELP!

We finished the year with record sales and then one months afterwards – before our bonus payout – the finance team knocks on my door and reports serious challenges in Accounts Receivables, unexpected new Accruals or other contingencies. Why did I not know before now? HELP!

I don’t see anything from the numbers I get, all these mambo jambo reports don’t tell me where I am doing well and what areas we struggle. I get to know more from my talks with Sales teams but why can’t finance tell me – with all this data they should tell me before bad stuff happens! I need trend reports and someone who I can have a dialogue with and do scenario planning. HELP!

We are on a negative growth pattern currently. Head office tells me to cut down. I know it must be done but I need alternatives, I need to know now how bad things stand. I need a someone who thinks with me as opposed to a ‘bookkeeper’. HELP!

We are growing very fast. I need my finance team to help me prioritise and select the right projects. When finally I get something it is half baked and usually they just prepare reports proving that I should stop all activity. This is not helpful. HELP!

VAT is coming. We are not ready in our ERP system. Our finance team looks increasingly stressed out and seem to have no solution for us. HELP!

Finance Departments more often than not have the information that ‘The Business’ needs but the people in the department, more often than not ‘Accountants’ as opposed to ‘Business Analysts and Partners’, are working day and night producing mandatory, and often not value-adding, reports for ‘Head Office’, ‘Regulators’ and other stakeholders in need of information for ‘Accounting’ purposes as opposed to ‘Management’ purposes.

At the same time, as explained before, often due to the inability of a stereotypical ‘Accountant’ to convert numbers into ‘Business Speak’ they often struggle to explain to you where your business is heading. Hardcore Accounting staff are either inherently pessimistic in their view of the business or even worse will just agree to anything you propose and just ‘Crunch the numbers as requested’, i.e. they focus on keeping the score only as opposed to thinking with you as to how to avoid a poor performance…

This is where we can help. It is not rocket science really as to why there is a need, so why then is it so difficult to fulfill the need? Whether General Management is focused on scaling down or expanding the business the challenge is the same – Finance Expertise and Analytical Business Support is required to make the right decisions to steer away from bad scores and instead improve the overall performance of the business.

Accelerate Evolution is well-positioned to help you get organised by providing ongoing operational Finance Business Partnering support on an interim basis or indeed by working with you and your teams to build Finance Business Partnering expertise in-house through our Management Advisory solutions. In the coming series we will further elaborate on the challenges as highlighted above.

In any case – the reports can wait if you need help now…. Contact us right away: finance.grc@accelerateevolution.ae

Adeel Farooqui – Associate | Marketing & Positioning

Adeel is an expert Marketeer and Brand builder with more than 16 years in FMCG industry. He has worked with the world’s top companies like Procter & Gamble managing billion dollar brands like H&S, Pantene, Tide, Wella and many more.

He has also worked with emerging multinationals like Marico, creating new brands and portfolios, guiding where to play and how to win strategies across Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. Adeel has a strong experience and knowledge of working in developed markets like Saudi, UAE, Belgium as well as low income markets like Egypt, Pakistan, Morocco.

Adeel’s portfolio of work includes managing global brands behind classical marketing campaigns as well as developing disruptive marketing models to lead challenger brands win against market leaders.

In his most recent engagement he guided Marico to a 360 plan to enter MENA white space successfully. The plan involved identifying the right markets, categories, products and brands to enter and win in the region as well as the best sourcing models and developing comprehensive blue prints for each brand in the portfolio.

Prior to this Adeel led the Haircare and Color Portfolio for P&G MENA with full volume and profit responsibility. During this assignment Adeel managed a full regional relaunch of Pantene brand as well as multiple line extensions and flankers for the rest of the portfolio. During this assignment Adeel took on a special project to improve execution of modern trade instore fundamentals and drive ROI for brand initiatives. Through deep dive analysis and correlating store wise offtakes to store executions and shopper understanding, sales and promotions budget was reduced by 20% without affecting P&G market share.

While working as the brand manager for Head&Shoulders, Middle East business, Adeel shaped the first long term digital strategy for the brand and in turn led the brand to highest ever shares in the Middle East. Under the platform of ‘H&S Freestyle’, H&S established a community for youngsters to showcase their freestyle across multiple sporting platforms like football, parkour, cycling etc. The platform remains a global pillar and best practice for H&S brand.

In his regional innovation role Adeel oversaw multiple upstream innovation projects across P&G’s laundry portfolio as well as white space launches, such as establishing a detergent plant in Pakistan. Working for the Tide brand, Adeel led a complete upgrade of the Tide Design and Equity blue print, creating a sharp positioning for the brand differentiating it from P&G other top tier brand Ariel. Adeel also successfully led the complex project of formula compaction to drive more sustainable product formula as an industry standard.

Adeel has also been a global trainer for P&G with specific focus on ‘Brand Architecture’, ‘Evaluating Marketing Communication’ and ‘P&G brand building framework’.

As a professional, he remains highly passionate about solving problems related to business and brand strategy. He believes in forming collaborative partnerships, working in teams and determining root causes to deliver break-through results which drive both business and people.

Jo Metzke – Associate | Supply Chain & Logistics (Alumni)

Jo has 20 years’ experience working in Supply Chain across MEA, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific for large multi-national companies,  predominantly in FMCG, such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, GSK and Mondelez.

Over the years Jo held both operational and strategic roles within these companies, whilst most recently she has focused on optimizing the Supply Chain through Supply Chain Network Design whilst she was also responsible for building Middle East & Africa regional capability across the Supply Chain.

Her key skills and expertise are in:

Supply Chain Network Design optimising the manufacturing and distribution footprint to support the mid to long term strategic goals of a business

Supply Chain Best Practice Implementation focusing on Demand & Supply Planning, Transportation and Warehousing as well as Sales & Operations Planning

Inventory Optimisation through the development and deployment of effective Inventory Policies

Supply Chain Systems Implementation support, such as SAP APO from blueprint to go live

Driving productivity and identifying productivity opportunities has been a major focus throughout her supply chain career, and key achievements include delivering in excess of $20Million USD cost savings per year through the implementation of Supply Chain Best Practices and Supply Network Design.

When she is not busy helping organisations improve their supply chains, Jo runs….

She is very passionate about marathons. As of April 2017 she has run 13 marathons in the prior 4 years. Most recently she received the Abbott Six Star Medal for running all 6 World Marathon majors – Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

Jo thoroughly enjoys pushing her boundaries, and she is currently in training for her 14th marathon!

Change Management: “Making Change in Organisations Happen Effectively”

Change Management 

“Making Change in Organisations Happen Effectively”

by Peter Roest | Managing Partner,  August 1st, 2016

Change Management is a term that is used freely. Sometimes it’s a scapegoat for less than stellar results: “That initiative failed because we didn’t focus enough on Change Management.” And it’s often used as a catch-all for project activities that might otherwise get overlooked: “When we implement that new process, let’s not forget about the Change Management.”

It’s a noun: “Change Management is key to the project.”
It’s a verb: “We really need to change manage that process.”
It’s an adjective: “My Change Management skills are improving.”
It’s an expletive: “Change Management!”

But what ‘exactly’ is it? Change Management is in fact a structured approach for ensuring that changes are thoroughly and smoothly implemented, and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved. Change Management is a broad discipline that involves ensuring change is implemented smoothly and with lasting benefits, by considering its wider impact on the organisation, the people within it and the broader stakeholder group outside of it. Each change initiative you manage or encounter will have its own unique set of objectives and activities, all of which must be coordinated.

When engaged as Business Change Managers, our role is to ease the journey towards new ways of working for our Clients. In addition to the ‘hands-on’ Change Management and Leadership skills that our Associates have gained by virtue of their ‘real-life’ work experience they do deploy a variety of common tools and methodologies to manage change effectively across the 4 key areas in a typical Change Management program:

*  Understanding Change

*  Planning Change

*  Implementing Change

*  Communicating Change

These tools include, but are not limited to: The Change Curve, Lewin’s Change Management Model, McKinsey’s 7S Framework, SIPOC diagrams, Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model, Stakeholder Analysis and Stakeholder Management – and more specifically in relation to Associates who have specialised in Human Capital Management common Organisation Design methodologies and structures are used to help organisations design their Organisational Structures to align with Business Goals.

Accelerate Evolution team members have successfully been engaged, both as SME’s as well as in leadership roles, in a multitude of Change Management programs on behalf of our clients and during their working careers before that. A selection of notable assignments include:

Providing Change Management Leadership during a complex office relocation and consolidation project for a large multinational insurance company involving various internal and external stakeholder groups.

Providing Change Management SME Support as well as Leadership on a multitude of new client implementation projects in a 3PL contract logistics environment – both on the Client as well as on the 3rd Party Logistics Service Provider side.

Providing Change Management Leadership during a large-scale multifaceted global end-to-end supply chain transformation project for a leading multinational pharmaceutical organisation.

Providing Change Management SME Support during a complex SAP implementation at a leading business conglomerate in the Middle East – 3,000+ users across multiple businesses in a variety of geographies. 

If you are interested to learn more please contact us to find out more about how we can best help your organisation Understand, Plan, Implement and Communicate Change, internally and externally, by developing and deploying an effective Change Management program.

BPR: “Using Radical Change to Improve Organizational Performance”

Business Process Reengineering

“Using Radical Change to Improve Organizational Performance”

 

by Peter Roest | Managing Partner,  June 1st, 2016

Sometimes-radical redesign and reorganization of an enterprise is necessary to lower costs and increase quality of service. Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is the practice of rethinking and redesigning the way work is done to better support an organization’s mission and reduce costs.

Reengineering starts with a high-level assessment of the organization’s mission, strategic goals, and customer needs.

Basic questions are asked, such as “Does our mission need to be redefined? Are our strategic goals aligned with our mission? Who are our customers?” An organization may find that it is operating on questionable assumptions, particularly in terms of the wants and needs of its customers.

Only after the organization rethinks what it should be doing, does it go on to decide how best to do it.

BPR projects are typically aligned along 7 principles to streamline the work process and thereby achieve significant levels of improvement in quality, time management, speed and profitability:

  1. Organize around outcomes, not tasks.
  2. Identify all the processes in an organization and prioritize them in order of redesign urgency.
  3. Integrate information processing work into the real work that produces the information.
  4. Treat geographically dispersed resources as though they were centralized.
  5. Link parallel activities in the workflow instead of just integrating their results.
  6. Put the decision point where the work is performed, and build control into the process.
  7. Capture information once and at the source.
  8. .

The Accelerate Evolution team has accumulated many years of experience through in-depth exposure to BPR exercises in large multinational and regional organizations alike.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your organization transform itself to improve the here and now and be better prepared for the future.

Interim Management vs. Management Consulting


What is Interim Management and how is it different from Management Consulting?

posted by: Peter Roest | Managing Partner, April 16th, 2016

Interim Management is one of the latest forms of troubleshooting management techniques which has come into existence in recent years. In this paper, I will explain what Interim Management exactly is. Then I will go onto describing the critical difference between an Interim Manager and a Management Consultant. Lastly, I shall provide the reader with an overview of the Interim Management industry today.

According to the Interim Management Association, “Interim Management is the rapid provision of senior executives to manage change or transition”.

In simpler terms, an interim manager is a highly experienced and specialized executive whom you can employ in your firm for a short period of time to solve a specific business problem. He is a master project manager and will not only act as a consultant and give you advice, but also solve the problem for you.

Let us take a hypothetical example to understand this better.
Company X has been performing badly for the past 5 years. It is a family run business and due to the internal politics amongst the family members, the company has lost its competitive edge in the market.

To make the situation worse, the Managing Director has suddenly resigned. Now, the Chairman of Company X realizes that the existing management team is inexperienced and incapable of running the company.

So, he has two alternatives. He can source and hire an existing senior level executive from another company and employ him or her on a permanent basis. But finding the right person uses valuable resources and takes a lot of time. In addition, the placement of a new senior staff member may cause further conflict between family members and insecurities in their roles, and they may seek work elsewhere. And worse, if the new executive turns out to be the wrong choice, removing him or her will be difficult.

The much better alternative is to employ an Interim Manager! Such an executive offers both past experience in short-term troubleshooting and company efficiency, and specialization in the particular field and can bridge the time required by the Chairman to identify a qualified external candidate or indeed identify and groom internal talent to take on the role full-time.

The Chairman will be able to select from a panel of executives deemed suitable by the interim management provider, and spend less time and money doing the legwork on his own. Existing employees will feel less threatened by the interim manager because of the limited time he or she will spend with the company.

An interim manager provides the solution to any number of problems in business. They are committed to their role as a short-term staff member and their varied experience in critical situations gives them a strategic advantage when handling new problems.

For a layman, it may appear that “interim manager” is just a fancy word for a management consultant. This is not the case! Some of their responsibilities do overlap, but there are very simple – and important – differences between them.

Let us investigate this properly.
What are the differences between Interim Managers and Management Consultants?

There is a vast distinction between an interim manager and a management consultant. Although on the surface they appear to be similar roles, their functions are quite distinguishable. Essentially, an interim manager is a management consultant, but a management consultant is not an interim manager.

Their core differences are outlined below:

Interim Manager vs Management Consultant

It is clear, then, that an interim manager is able to perform a far more specialized job for your company, using your own resources and reporting only to you. He or she does a “start to finish” job: overseeing the company’s current operations, developing strategies for improvement and then implementing the strategies.

A recent survey of 100 senior directors reported that 78 per cent of them feel that interim managers are a better option than management consultants. What this all means is that the interim management industry is beginning to expand. Companies increasingly prefer interim managers to their consultant counterparts because of the more complete service that they offer.

Interim Management Trends
The interim management industry is a relatively new field. It was borne into the European market in the 1970s and 80s and is projected to grow further in the coming years. It originated in order to be able to provide fast, specialized top management service in times of company and management crisis.

For example, at the time of its introduction to the Netherlands in the 1970s, companies were dealing with long terms of notice and high termination pay-outs. The oil crisis had occurred and industries faced a major setback. As a result, highly skilled and experienced managers were required on an immediate basis in order to rebuilt companies that were failing. And so interim management was born. Similar situations have occurred in other countries in Europe. Over the past 20 years, the size of the market has grown steadily.

The interim management market offers different areas of specialization, and these have and these have different rates of demand. All are highly competitive. Areas with the highest demand are schools of Human Resources and Finance & Operations, which account for almost 20 per cent of all assignments. Lesser levels of demand are found in areas including Purchasing, Supply Chain and IT. However, the highest remuneration is for IT and Managing Director/CEO roles.

The public sector employs almost 20 per cent more interim managers than the private sector, but there is evidence of a gradual growth in their employment within privately owned companies. Interim mangers are beginning to enjoy an excellent reputation for quick and effective strategic management, and this is contributing to industry awareness.
The interim management industry as a whole has experienced excellent growth in the past few years and it is expected that it will continue to grow at an accelerated rate in years to come.

What does this mean?
Despite its relative youth in the management industry, interim management has grown steadily. There is an excellent opportunity for individuals to become involved in interim management while it is still growing – “on the ground floor”, so to speak. There is basis for thinking that interim managers will begin to take over from management consultants as companies become even further specialized and have even more requirements for quick solutions.

Interim Management is here to stay!

originally posted on: www.interimmanagement.com


Six Sigma: “Improving Quality Systematically”

Six Sigma

“Improving Quality Systematically”

 

By Peter Roest | Managing Partner, April 1st 2016

Six Sigma is a rigorous, focused and highly effective implementation of proven quality principles and techniques. Incorporating elements from the work of many quality pioneers, Six Sigma aims for virtually error free business performance.

Sigma is a letter in the Greek alphabet used by statisticians to measure the variability in any process, and if you can keep the output of that process within a six sigma-wide band (in effect, no more than 3.4 defects per million outputs), you can be confident that your process is operating as it should.

Six Sigma focuses on improving quality (and therefore reducing waste) by helping organizations produce products and services better, faster and cheaper. In more traditional terms, Six Sigma focuses on defect prevention, cycle time reduction, and cost savings. Unlike mindless cost-cutting programs which reduce value as well as quality, Six Sigma identifies and eliminates costs which provide no value to customers.

Typically a Six Sigma project consists of two elements. Using a framework called DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve -Control) organizations set out to deploy a set of tried and tested improvement methods and second a small contingent of in-house six sigma leaders are trained to a high level of proficiency in the application of the aforementioned techniques to ensure the improvements are sustainable and continuous.

Accelerate Evolution’s team is well-versed in the practical application of Six Sigma methodologies and we are more than prepared to assist your organization with its Six Sigma projects.

Please click here to contact us for more information as to how Accelerate Evolution can assist your organization with their Six Sigma projects

IBP: “Where Business Strategy meets Operations Management”

Integrated Business Planning 

“Where Business Strategy meets Operations Management”

 

Companies have been achieving improved business performance for close to three decades by implementing and operating with an integrated business management process known as Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP).

A significant number of companies have led the evolution of S&OP from fundamental demand and supply balancing to an integrated strategic deployment and management process. This evolving process is known as Integrated Business Planning (IBP).

IBP is a process led by senior management that evaluates and revises time-phased projections for demand, supply, product and portfolio changes, strategic projects, and the resulting financial plans. This is done at the aggregate level on a monthly basis, typically over a 24-month or greater rolling planning horizon. It is a decision-making process that realigns the tactical plans for all business functions in all geographies to support the company’s strategies, business goals, and targets.

A primary objective of Integrated Business Planning is to reach consensus on a single operating plan to which executives of the management team hold themselves accountable and allocate the critical resources of people, equipment, materials, time, and money to most effectively satisfy customers in a profitable way.

Through their involvement, both in steady-state operational roles as well as in design / development and implementation / deployment project roles, in a variety of different industries, members of the Accelerate Evolution team are very well positioned to assist organizations with their IBP/S&OP projects.

Our Associates are often deployed in an Interim Management capacity to revive an existing S&OP or IBP process and help making it sustainable, or in a Advisory / Project Management role to help organisations to either design and deploy their first iteration of basic S&OP or indeed help them move up the ladder towards advanced S&OP / IBP.

Contact us to find out more about how we can best help your organization design, deploy and/or run an impactful and effective business planning process.

LEAN: “Working More Efficiently – Streamlining Processes and Eliminating Waste”

LEAN & Operations Excellence 

“Working More Efficiently – Streamlining Processes and Eliminating Waste”

 

How much waste does your organisation produce? Do you ever have to wait for someone else to finish a task before you can get on with your own work? Do you have a large inventory of unsold stock? Do you have more workstations than you need? Or do you order materials months in advance of when they are needed? How about flexibility? If consumers want a modification to your product, can you quickly change your processes to meet their needs?

‘Waste’ costs your organisation and your customer’s money, and if your customers have to pay more because of it, they might go elsewhere. Being competitive also requires flexibility; your organisation must be able to meet the changing demands of your customers quickly and effectively, and adapt to a rapidly changing business environment.

So, how can an organisation reduce waste and do things more efficiently? And how can a business keep up with the changing demands of consumers?

First mentioned in James Womack’s 1990 book, “The Machine That Changed the World,” LEAN, or Operations Excellence, is a theory that can help organisations to simplify and organise their working environment so that they can reduce waste, and keep their people, equipment, and workspace responsive to what’s needed right there and then.

Through formal education and training as well as hands-on experience most members of Accelerate Evolution’s team have been exposed to the LEAN revolution throughout their careers. Some of our Associates have taken this a step further and have become LEAN practitioners having been involved in large scale LEAN deployments in manufacturing as well as non-manufacturing environments.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your organisation become more efficient.