Lean is a multi-faceted business strategy, with a primary focus on employees and learning. Through the use of various lean tools, practices and methods, employees learn to master their work, solve the right problems and help an organization learn how to doing things tomorrow it cannot do today. That’s why we should always talk about “lean thinking” as opposed to “doing lean.”
Lean also changes the way an organization thinks about making money. The financial impact of a lean strategy is well known — all we need to do is look at the many companies that have been successful in their transformations. We know that focusing an organization on customer value will result in revenue growth, and that the deployment of lean tools and techniques that create flow and eliminate waste will result in improved cost management. These are the economics of lean.
But before any of that appears, a fundamental shift must occur in what and how an organization measures itself operationally and financially. Financial management must be aligned with the economics of lean, and that’s what lean accounting is all about.
To achieve success, a lean organization must develop an effective and efficient management accounting function that complements its financial accounting system to provide a knowledge base for effectively making decisions about the future (this is critical because the focus of financial accounting is on past activity). Lean accounting makes relevant information available to decision makers on a timely basis.
Nick Katko is president of BMA Inc., and has leveraged his lean accounting experience and philosophy in assisting clients in developing, leading and coaching lean accounting transformations. He has also provided selected clients with lean strategy and lean office guidance. His clients range from family-owned businesses to multi-national companies in industries such as manufacturing, health care, software, engineering and service. In the 1990s, as CFO of Bullard, he implemented a complete lean management accounting system in conjunction with Bullard’s lean transformation, which included eliminating standard costing. Katko is author of “The Lean CFO" and is co-author of “The Lean Business Management System." He is a certified public accountant, has a BS in accounting and an MBA in finance, both from the University of Kentucky.
- how to build and use a lean management accounting system to make relevant information available to decision makers on a timely basis.
- why lean organizations need lean management accounting systems.
- how to sustain a lean management accounting system with lean financial coaches.
- Accounting and operations supervisors, managers and others who are interested in understanding more about lean accounting and experience new ways to evaluate lean results
- Individuals who want to learn how to effectively measure lean improvements
- Individuals who wish to understand how to drive the right lean behaviors through appropriate metrics
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