By Satish Patel
Current economic times demand that organizations and small businesses achieve more with less. The concept of business process improvement (BPI) has evolved into an operational strategy that can no longer afford to be overlooked as “optional”. In order to remain competitive, a company’s internal functions must be reengineered and reassessed to become more efficient. Business owners must evaluate and search for efficiency in their processes, systems and organizational structure. This type of evaluation needs to occur at the departmental level, as well as the overall business level. Within Finance departments, BPI should be assessed in five key areas.
Optimizing Cash Flow – Predictability of cash flow is critical for a small to mid-sized business. Regulating accounts payables and receivables directly impacts cash flow. Anything that is paper driven or a manual process should be evaluated for business process improvement. This avoids inconsistency of processing and allows functions to be performed at the same time each month or via a similar practice.
Improvement in Reporting – Accounting systems should provide reports that reveal key operating information which is pertinent to a specific business or industry. Systems must evolve from just reporting to adding value. They must provide information that enhances accuracy and understanding of information, as well as allow business owners to derive key pieces of operating intelligence about their business. Systems that can offer customized reports which generate key pieces of integral data should be considered in order to reduce “data crunching” thereby replacing it with usable data for analysis.
Budgeting and Forecasting – Access to reliable and timely data is critical to budgeting and forecasting, and accurate budgeting and forecasting is critical to the success of a small to mid-sized business. This process needs to be streamlined and performed on a regular basis. As with optimizing cash flow, this process should be evaluated for automating tasks, such as manual data entry, wherever possible.
Developing and Adhering to Cost Controls – Fluctuations and even small variations in costs can produce vast implications on budgets and cash flow for small to midsized companies. Creating cost controls is a process improvement from which every business can benefit. These controls ensure an alignment between costs and budget and work diligently to mitigate the occurrence of extreme corrective budgeting actions.
Organizational Structure – Personnel functions should be evaluated to ensure that expertise is appropriately leveraged and that manpower is deployed as needed. This may require business owners to reconsider their organizational structure in terms of cross functional teams as opposed to a hierarchical structure, or vice versa.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, evaluating these five areas of BPI within a finance department allows your business to function more productively. We are currently offering a free analysis of your business processes and accounting system. If you would like to discuss BPI within your finance department and learn more on how Analytix Solutions can help move your business forward, please call me directly at 781.503.9002 or email me at [email protected]
Satish Patel, CPA
President, Analytix Solutions
Satish Patel, Founder-CEO of Analytix Solutions, has more than two decades of experience as a CPA. He has also advised small and mid-sized businesses on diverse matters such as valuation, accounting, and finance. His experience extends to raising capital and arranging for finance from angel investors.