Maintaining a hard-won competitive advantage and spurring continued business growth can seem like an impossible goal at times. When performance plateaus, business leaders often wonder where the solution lies. Is the company missing out on opportunities or failing to use existing technology and systems to their full potential? Are the right people already in the right seats, or could a reorganization improve performance? At times like these, a business process assessment can help organizations see the big picture and identify new ways and strategies to optimize growth and performance.
Why you need one
A business process assessment is invaluable for discovering opportunities to improve business performance – even when there’s no obvious problem. Whether the organization is wrestling with a specific issue or just isn’t consistently meeting or exceeding growth targets, a business process assessment paves the way for improvement by scrutinizing every aspect of operations, revealing bottlenecks and pinpointing inefficiencies.
The ideal person to conduct a business process assessment is an independent business consultant with cross-functional expertise in operations, finance and technology. While company leaders may have a good sense of operational and personnel strengths as well as challenges and limitations, they also typically are focused on strategy and have packed schedules, in addition to a long list of to-do projects jostling for priority status.
What’s more, insiders are fully immersed in the company’s culture whereas a third party can offer the highest level of objectivity and a fresh perspective. Unhindered by office politics, company culture and years of tradition, an independent business consultant is free to challenge the status quo without ruffling feathers to the same extent or risking career stability in the company.
When to conduct it
With the post-pandemic business landscape still emerging and unpredictable, many organizations are finding a business process assessment both appropriate and necessary. Emergency-driven process changes, short-term solutions and crisis management tactics that became standard operating procedure make it obvious that peak efficiency is eluding many businesses in 2021.
Rapid advances in technology have brought new opportunities for automation and systems integration into reach for small and mid-sized businesses. Digitalization enables process improvement and streamlining; an assessment can help a company identify processes that can be optimized through automation. Besides these obvious indicators, a number of more subtle symptoms can signal that the time is right to streamline accounting and finance functions:
- Difficulty scaling to meet growth
- Overly siloed functions and departments
- Inadequate visibility or timeliness of financial or operational data
- Systems that don’t integrate well (or at all) and require spreadsheet workarounds
- Reliance on cobbled-together point solutions
- Back-office operations misaligned with company strategy
- High accounting and finance staff turnover
- Inability to seize fleeting opportunities or quickly adapt to shifting marketplace dynamics
How it unfolds
The business process assessment team focuses on observing, listening and learning about the organization. Through interviews with team members, first-hand observations and a detailed study of policies, procedures and other internal documentation, they’ll learn how things are supposed to work and uncover how the work actually happens.
The assessment and analysis can take several weeks or months, during which time the consulting team keeps company leadership informed about project progress with regular status updates. After a review of everything from technology and teams to individual processes and functions, the assessment concludes with recommendations for implementing best practices and options to help advance the organization’s pursuit of its strategic goals.
Deliverables vary based on the scope and focus of the analysis, but may include tools such as:
- Revised organization chart/structure
- Revised position descriptions
- Process mapping
- Tech stack recommendations
- Skills gap assessment
What it delivers
One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to optimizing processes and enhancing business performance. To deliver the best results, a business process assessment should reflect the individual nature of the organization – technologically, operationally and culturally. When it does, though, the results can be dramatic. By implementing the recommended solutions and best practices, organizations can reap potential benefits that include:
- More scalable systems and procedures
- Enhanced alignment between business processes and business strategy
- Greater agility to meet a dynamic marketplace, regulatory environment and economy
Competing in the post-pandemic economy will demand that organizations of all sizes maximize efficiency and maintain an agile stance to meet rapid economic and market changes. A business process assessment can help you identify opportunities for improvement and solutions to problems both seen and unseen, allowing you to make the most of your organization’s people, processes and technology and positioning it for strategic growth in the years to come, whatever they may hold. Find out whether a business process assessment is right for your organization by reaching out to your RKL advisor or completing the form below.