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Finance Process Improvement

THE CHALLENGE

With a new Finance Vision, the Australian finance leadership team at a Global Tobacco Company (ITA) wanted to empower and develop its staff to become "brilliant at the basics".

To maximise efficiency and enable greater resource investment in Value-Add activities, the company wanted to identify time and effort wasted in poorly optimised financial activities. Streamlining the processes would lead to greater efficiency at an operational level and create a cultural shift in mind-set amongst the team.

THE DELIVERY

Practicus was engaged to understand, review and improve the function to help the company reach its goal. The project was a rapid eight week review of Finance processes and people. We interviewed the entire team to fully understand how activities were carried out. As part of the interviews, we also assessed the skill level and capabilities of the team, and suggested ways in which it could be restructured and skills could be developed. Based on the findings, we then mapped c.90 processes and made recommendations for improvement.

TRUE COLLABORATION

Our relationship with the client was built on true collaboration. In order to be successful in such a short timeframe, it was important that the company’s leadership co-owned the solution from the very beginning and actively participated in helping shape the outcome. This began with a very clear communications plan to manage staff expectations.

The closely integrated way of working was underpinned by Practicus’s award-winning collaborative agreement that set out how the two parties would work together to ensure success. This was combined with an Outcome Delivery Assurance Charter that would ensure the work would remain focussed on the clients measures of success at all times.

This approach led to positive feedback from the client and a top Net Promoter Score of 10.

THE OUTCOME

Practicus outlined core processes and opportunities to reduce FTE requirements and streamline documentation flow. The recommendations led to a projected 20% reduction in FTEs, leaving more time for staff to work on value-adding activities.

The organisation has confidence that the investment will provide pay back quickly. Having leveraged on several "Quick Wins" in the current implementation phase, there has been significant process efficiency already gained. With this momentum, the finance team's goal to be "brilliant at the basics" is certainly within reach.