New Year’s Resolutions for Your Organization

by Sara Kirk, CPA, CFE, Consulting Partner

Posted on January 7, 2020

We have officially reached the start of a new year and a new decade!  Happy New Year!  Happy New Decade!   This is the time of year that has many of us reflecting on our personal and professional goals for the upcoming year in the form of resolutions. The result of a quick browser search brought up the following description of a New Year’s resolution: a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.

Whether you subscribe to this new year’s resolution concept in your personal life or not, as you may be of the mind that resolutions at this single point in time are fleeting, but rather that it is best to resolve to do things consistently throughout the year, I would challenge everyone to take this concept and apply it to the organization you work for and the job that you do each day.  When HM is hired to conduct business process reviews for organizations in order to make recommendations about how they can operate more efficiently, effectively, all the while remaining compliant, we ask employees we interview a combination of the following questions:

  • What ideas do you have for process improvements?
  • What ideas, if implemented today, would make your life easier while not increasing the organization’s exposure to the risk of errors or noncompliance?
  • What things do you do that seem redundant and do not appear to add value to the process and therefore the organization?
  • What things are you working on when you catch yourself saying, either to yourself or out loud, “why do we do this this way”? And of the things in this area that have been discussed, which items were answered “because this is how we have always done it.”
  • When you started your position(s) within the organization, were there written procedures documenting the process to be followed to execute your assigned job duties?
  • How often do you receive meaningful professional development allowing you exposure to new ways of doing things and to network with others?

This brainstorming exercise can be done as an individual, as a department, and as an organization and will open the up dialogue regarding process and organizational improvement. From here, the management team can begin to analyze the information shared and turn the viable ideas into goals. A roadmap to achieving these goals should be developed by outlining the sequence of steps and activities to be performed in an action plan. That action plan should identify the action proposed, the individuals responsible, the time frame or deadline, and the individuals responsible for monitoring the completion of the item. The management team should also monitor that the desired outcome of the action item was obtained.

The following are examples of actionable items that may be identified as a result of this process:

  • A current process step is reordered to avoid the same individual reviewing the same record multiple times (improved efficiency)
  • A process that is currently manual will be automated using available technology (improved efficiency and effectiveness/accuracy)
  • Written documentation will be prepared to document key processes followed by the organization (helps to achieve numerous organizational goals)
  • Meaningful professional development opportunities will be identified for each individual (helps to achieve numerous organizational goals)

May 2020 be a prosperous year for us as individuals and for our organizations!