I was sitting in a meeting with a client the other week, and the key topic was change. We had recently prepared an Improvement Plan for his business, and a common theme from our review was the automation of financial processes, through better use of their software, and implementing better review processes. At this point, Jack paused the meeting with the statement “it seems these changes are increasing the amount of work instead of reducing it.”
At that moment I realised Jack was questioning “what is the point to this change?” The process we had undertaken was to improve the business, not increase their workload. In that moment he needed clarity.
So, here’s the point – know your why. You either change so that you don’t get left behind, or you change so that you can continue to improve. I know that may sound a bit cliché, but it’s true. No one changes just for the sake of it, so the focus should always be on the latter, being that of improvement.
Jack’s statement above helped to refocus our conversation. Yes, there was new work that needed to be done and checks along the way, but what had been missed was that automation would give him and his team more time to better utilise their collective skills within his business. That was the why. Essentially, the automation was designed to handle the data entry and other processes that cost him and his team valuable time.
So how do you ensure success with change:
- Make a plan
- Stick to the plan
- Always improve
This seems easier said than done. We’re creatures of habit and prefer to do things the way we’ve always done them. But improvement is not always about big changes, sometimes it’s about better using the resources you already have in place. For Jack’s business, the key was finding a way to free up time for his admin team. They only work a four-day week and had commented that they were doing five days work in this time. The questions that came up were “what is not necessary?”, “what can be automated?” and “what is the risk?”.
The process to our Improvement Plan is simple, we observe your existing processes within your finance function, we identify where the gaps are, and we recommend improvements that can be made. Business is hard enough without the cost of inefficiencies. The next time you are spending time on mundane activities in your business, think about what needs to change and make a plan.
HOW CAN RSM HELP?
If you have any questions regarding change in your Agribusiness, get in touch with your trusted local RSM advisor