Banks and other financial institutions have a requirement that all officers must take two consecutive weeks off work. The reason, which is advocated by the FDIC, is so that the institution has a better chance to uncover fraudulent activity. If the employee is gone for an extended period, strange correspondence and irregular transactions handled by the backup employee could expose the fraud.
However, irregular and strange don’t only relate to fraud. That type of activity can be related to current business processes. Our last post was about how costly exceptions to the standard business process seem to go unnoticed because managing the exception becomes routine for that employee. Therefore, whenever there is employee turnover or extended PTO, plug in a trusted squeaky wheel and take notes.
Don’t miss these opportunities because the uncovering of a poor business process is not always easy. Accepting some headache becomes ok rather then face the pain of change. It could also be employment security to have a seemingly complicated, exception laden process to manage. Or as mentioned in the last post, it just becomes so routine that it gets unnoticed. Don’t let these hurdles deter you.
Options available to uncover these inefficient processes include the hiring of consultants. Consultants can come in as bulldogs and get down to the real story behind how the business runs. It’s their job to find the inefficient processes and then recommend solutions to fix the problem. The consulting industry is large so the model must work.
There is always the Strategic Business Review. It seems that large companies go through this process every few years and certainly whenever there is a change in leadership. The goal of the SBR is to uncover these profit denting processes and potential revenue generating ideas. The result of an SBR is typically dramatic and not about cleaning up a back-office processes.
For most firms though, cleaning up those back-office processes will produce big results. Getting a new client onboarded faster and without hiccups is great for business. Offboarding an employee correctly is needed to protect your company data. Having a wire transfer approval workflow with checks and balances will prevent the company from being scammed. These are not small results but big wins.
Don’t get complacent with your internal processes or lack thereof. You can hire expensive consultants or do a very expensive SBR to get results. But if you suspect that your back office could run smoother, make sure employees take time off and listen to what the squeaky wheel has to say. Change is painful. But success is sweet – and profitable.