Optimising financial processes

Posted on:

25 or 6 to 4

This title of a song by the band Chicago is about trying to write a song, referring to the time of day: either 3:35 a.m. (25 to 4) or 3:34 a.m. (26 to 4).

My first message of the new year was going to be titled 12 of 21 for 22, but that sparked off a whole different tangential train of thought . . . Do you ever get that? It is frustrating and helpful in equal measure.

If you relish that diversion, that particular “road less traveled” you can spend 4 minutes and 52 seconds listening to Chicago here . . .

Thanks to one happy reader (Rob Williamson) you can also see their lockdown, socially distanced performance here . . .

But, back to my primary topic.

One of the biggest inhibitors to any change, improvement or transformation is the human desire to maintain the status quo. 

That is why the 15th century Machiavelli quote is so timeless and still so relevant “there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”.

One of the pieces of great news from the past two years of disruption has been that “questioning the way things have been done” became second nature, because we had no choice.

We must NOT lose sight or memory of that experience of an urgent, collective, “compelling event” – it’s a powerful force.

The pandemic encouraged transformation thinking as our business processes and delivery models became immediately obsolete in a touch-less, distanced, distributed, work-from-home environment. 

By looking beyond received wisdom and historic best practices, many organizations have taken the lead in driving enhanced efficiency, control, service levels and value they add to their colleagues, their enterprise and their customers.

So, to the 12 key observations of 2021 (as rated by YOU) that are highly relevant to 2022 . . .

Most Highly Rated Webcasts of 2021

  1. Digitization Disappointment – need I say more? We had a great discussion on WHY 70% of transformation initiatives fail to deliver on their business case – you can see the synopsis and a link to the recorded session here . . .  
  2. The Elephant in the Room in ICFR /SOX : Manual Controls and the Nestle experience – risk management, control and compliance remains a major issue for organizations and the MAJORITY of key controls remain MANUAL – Why is this and what should we do about it? Read more here . . . 
  3. The Shape of your NEXT ICFR / SOX Deficiency – with special guest Robin Ashby – what is driving the uptick in audit issues? 
  4. The KPI Paradox – The sad fact is that our KPIs are part of the PROBLEM . . . They might help our reporting to senior management but the provide ZERO help in driving continuous improvement. Why is that and what do we do about it? 
  5. Data Analytics & BI – Are We Approaching a Tipping Point? – We have an explosion of platforms and tools available for our data scientists and an explosion in the volume of data available. Yet, even the most sophisticated business intelligence, analytics and data science approaches are failing us for 80% of our business needs. Why and what is really going on? 
  6. The Dunning Kruger Effect & Other Cognitive Biases that Limit Our Performance – Cognitive biases mean that otherwise smart people tend to come to opinions and make decisions and plans that can be very difficult to realize. These cognitive biases affect us in our working lives as well as in our personal lives. They are a critical consideration. Read more here . . 

Most Highly Rated Opinion Pieces of 2021

  1. 11 Reflections and Projections – from January 2021, see what still resonates, what remains a challenge and what we have cracked !
  2. Why is the CFO NOT driving Digital Transformation? Read on . . . 
  3. Does Asking Great Questions Beat Having Great Answers? Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking value in organizations: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and performance improvement, it builds rapport and trust among team members. And it can mitigate business risk  . . . 
  4. Survey Insights on Integrated Business Services – Shared Services, Global Business Services, Integrated Business Services, what’s in a name? There has been some genuine soul searching for “identity”, mission and purpose but we ARE making progress. Read more here . . . 
  5. Risk in 2022 : Supply Chain Woes Continue – If this has passed you by, you are very fortunate to have been insulated from these challenges. Its not over yet. What can we learn? 
  6. Digital Transformation : Avoiding a Slow and Painful Failure. The 70% metric I referred to above, is alive and well . . . . How do we ensure we are in the more successful 30%? 

If you have the time and/or inclination you can browse more of this thinking here . .  and here . . 

I hope at least one of these has stimulated some fresh thinking. If not, you can always “tune in” to the music . . 

If you find this interesting or just a pleasant diversion, please follow us for regular snippets and direct access to our events and thinking.

Happy New Year !

I wish you all the best, both personally and professionally, for 2022.

Thanks for reading . . .