When a company is laser-focused on growth, it can take time and effort to analyze business processes. But when problems arise — or significant organizational changes occur — taking a hard look at strengths and weaknesses is often the best way to light the path forward.
The reasons that a company might decide to do a Business Process Review are manifold. The CEO may be looking for help optimizing processes for compliance assurance, finishing an audit, or completing a tax return. There may be delays in accounting processes or shake-ups in operational personnel. Or management could need help to achieve strategic alignment.
Whatever the case, there are pain points, and opportunities for improvement at every company, and a Business Process Review is an effective way to find them and develop action plans. Read on to learn how to get started, what the review entails, and the types of results you can anticipate — including some that might be unexpected.
Getting started with a Business Process Review
Usually, business owners or CEOs are the ones who request Business Process Reviews, but other executive roles like CFOs or Controllers can also initiate them.
Either way, it’s essential to first get buy-in across the organization, particularly with the individuals who are going to be interviewed. This will undoubtedly include critical figures from management and accounting and employees involved with the specific processes in question. In addition, reviewers often talk to people from IT, administration, and even data. To get the most out of the review, all stakeholders need to be informed, engaged, and open to the conversations.
Typically, a specific issue or problem will have been identified as the focus of the Business Process Review. But since the goal is to leave no stone unturned, it’s common for unexpected issues to arise. The review’s ability to reveal truths to company insiders is one of the reasons this process tends to be so well-received.
One size does not fit all
Every company is different, so the specific issues and challenges will also be unique. That’s why each Business Process Review needs to be tailored toward a business’s individual needs and goals.
It starts with a one-to-two-hour conversation about people, processes, and technology to assess particular problems and objectives. Surveys, observational tours, in-depth one-on-one interviews, and studies of existing workflow, software use, and vendor relationships follow this.
The goal is not just to record the current situation but to ask some difficult questions: Which technology is obsolete? Why is location A performing better than location B? What does the monthly close-out look like, and why? The reviewers leverage their industry expertise to flush out pain points, identify inefficiencies and strategize ways to streamline and improve them.
The results: A roadmap for growth
The end result of this information-gathering and analysis is a detailed recommendation report for company leadership. It will include forecasted results, suggested next steps, and workflow charts for optimal efficiency and productivity.
The typical recommendations encompass strategies for utilizing people, streamlining processes, and mitigating risks. They also often include advice on upgrading outdated technology or using existing technology to its full potential.
Sometimes the outcomes that emerge from a Business Process Review are more unexpected. In many cases, business owners are surprised to learn how much critical insight they can gain from analyzing areas of the company that might have seemed humdrum or straightforward, such as accounting. On the other hand, a review can shed light on the inner workings of departments — and sometimes reveal unsavory practices, like fraudulent activity, that could have otherwise gone unnoticed.
No company is perfect, and weakness is just another term for an improvement opportunity. A Business Process Review is an effective tool for rooting out issues, solving pain points, and getting a company on the right track to growth.