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Process Improvement Memory Joggers

18 Tips to Dissect and Improve your Processes

  1. OVER-PROCESSING: Spending time perfecting beyond what your customer cares about
  2. MINIMIZE HANDOFFS: Red flag anytime you hear “lots of back & forth emails”
  3. FREQUENCY: Doing activities every day, when once a month would suffice
  4. SKILLS: Using a senior person when work could be done by someone more junior
  5. FAST TRACK: Think express line at grocery store. Applicability for expenses, variance analysis, approvals, etc.
  6. BATCH WORK: Batch transactions where it makes sense
  7. POKA-YOKE: Japanese for mistake-proof. Make it something you can’t get wrong. Think validations and drop down lists
  8. CHECKLISTS: Pilots and doctors use them all the time for critical steps. Month end is just the start
  9. AUTOMATE: Automate, but remember to minimize and eliminate first
  10. SPEED UP: Do activities in parallel and remove non-critical path items (for cycle time improvements)
  11. SIMPLIFY: How could you accomplish the same thing with less complexity
  12. NO MULTI-TASK: Science has proven that multi-tasking diminishes cognitive performance
  13. STANDARDIZE: Reduce variability with consistent templates for things like journal entries, account reconciliations, etc.
  14. 80-20 ANALYSIS: Focus improvement efforts on the 20% of scenarios that are causing 80% of the issues
  15. CAPTURE RIGHT ONCE: Get the data right upstream the first time. Look at forms and request templates when you notice frequent follow ups
  16. VISUAL RULES & FAQS: Make the business rules & instructions visual. How could you make the capitalization policy easy for a non-accountant
  17. ASK CUSTOMER: Know who your processes’ customer is and what they need and want. Get rid of everything else.
  18. START / STOP: Ask what we should stop doing and what we are not doing that we should start doing

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