Strategic assessment and design within your organization’s finance function can strengthen your operations and create scalable solutions—regardless of your organization’s size or scope.
In typical outsourced accounting practices, an initial phase, is often used as a precursor and staging ground for the ongoing accounting services performed. However, strategic assessment and design can be used as a broader, stand-alone tool to help organizations of all sizes prepare actionable plans for transformation.
What’s Assessment and Design?
Assessment refers to an independent, objective review of current-state finance operations, within a broader organizational context. Because of its objective nature, assessment shines a light on gaps and opportunities.
A design is your organization’s agile, flexible plan, based on the assessment, for accounting services implementation or change, situated in the context of longer-term organizational objectives.
Assessment and design, when used strategically, offer the following benefits:
- Decrease time needed to onboard and transition specific tasks
- Align accounting services with organizational core vision
- Provide a flexible, responsive plan to address gaps and opportunities
- Set framework for long-term innovation and growth
Apply an Intentional Approach
We often find ourselves overwhelmed and reacting to issues as they arise instead of thoughtfully planning for potential needs and future goals. When we operate in reaction mode, we can sacrifice effective change management as well as long-term, mission-based goals.
Engaging in thoughtful, intentional assessment and design on the front end of a project—or as a stand-alone process—can pave the way for rapid, flexible, and strategic deployment of accounting solutions over the mid- and long-term. Intentional planning, with clear milestones for success, increases efficiencies, promotes accountability and keeps teams focused on common goals.
Time invested in assessment and design on the front end of a project or change allows for agile, outcome-based execution in subsequent phases of implementation.
Complete an Assessment
Assessment is best carried out by someone external to your finance function who can objectively evaluate needs, gaps, and opportunities. This process will provide a holistic view of your organization’s current financial operations and become the springboard for the design phase to follow.
A thorough assessment will include the following steps:
- Conduct interviews with accounting team
- Involve key stakeholders
- Analyze organization as a whole
- Discuss short-term and long-term goals
During the assessment, it’s important to focus on the following areas within your organization, reviewing each for strengths and opportunities for improvement.
- Organizational structure
- Policies and procedures
- Management reporting
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Data and integrations
Build Your Design
Once you understand your organization’s strengths and opportunities, you can begin designing your forward-facing financial operations roadmap. This process should involve an iterative approach, detailing key milestones and deliverables and laying in parallel activities external to the finance function. When building your design, it’s important to:
- Bring the right leaders, with varying skillsets, to the table
- Spend time outlining requirements
- Assign priorities and accountability
- Build a tailored road map complete with key milestones and mitigation strategies in case you veer off course
As a team, it’s also important to:
- Revisit your plans and accomplishments on a recurring basis
- Solicit feedback from internal and external stakeholders
- Review and further adjust your plan based on prior learnings
We’re Here to Help
To learn more about how you can implement a robust assessment and design process within your accounting department, contact your Moss Adams professional.
Note on COVID-19
During this unparalleled time, we’re closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it evolves so we can provide up-to-date guidance and support to help you combat uncertainty. For regulatory updates, strategies to help cope with subsequent risk, and possible steps to bolster your workforce and organization, please see the following resources: