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Streamline... then out

I, Annie, have always been a stickler for making a job as streamlined as possible. One large supplier of party products I went into are a perfect example of that.

When I arrived, they had their finance team split into two sections – Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet. I took the Balance Sheet side. What I was let into, frankly, made my head explode. To give the non-financey people an idea, a Balance Sheet reconciliation should be done regularly, but if you get the data correct throughout the month it should take a few hours maximum. This company’s process was so bad they had employed me, full time, to do Balance Sheet reconciliations – they had 86 separate spreadsheets as one of the tools for the job!

They also had minimal management information available for the executive team each month, so decisions were not being made with complete information.  Another problem was the Purchase Ledger clerk desperately needed more help with her job.

I set to work fixing these problems. First, I created a much better Balance Sheet reconciliation process and file, with as much automation as possible, reducing the risk of human error and time involved. This took the process from almost a full time job to 2.5 hours per month. With this extra time and information, I was able to get to work creating an improved management pack for the executive team, meaning they had all the information needed in one place, in a way that was easy to read and understand. Plus it looked pretty, which is always a bonus!

Once this was done, I had effectively done myself out of job and would move onto my next project. With the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss tasks combined, they were able to reduce their personnel into 1 full time staff rather than 2, leaving room to recruit a second much need Purchases Ledger clerk to provide support in the area where it was most needed.