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Oscar worthy or rotten fruit  - would your business processes walk the red carpet?

In this season of the movie awards, voters ask, “Which are the winners—and losers? Which movie gave me chills? Made me think deeply? Had a lousy storyline or actors that didn’t quite hit their stride?”

Like academy winners and losers, we bet your public sector organization has some award-worthy business processes like present and past Oscar nominees:

  • Musically innovation with complex symmetry (Rocketman)
  • Simple and straightforward like a wizard operating behind the curtain (Wizard of Oz)
  • Complex with a predetermined outcome modified for mass consumption (Little Women)

Now the flipside of your Oscar darlings are the business processes that would receive a downright “rotten tomatoes” score. But whether a process is a winner or loser, each has required imagination in their development, nurturing, funding, training, caretaking, release into the real world and measuring of results.

Screening of a business process assessment

Similar to box office revenues or critical acclaim, business processes have defined measures of success. It’s critical to periodically perform an organization-wide assessment of your business processes and see how they measure up. The losers will cost your public sector entity cash to operate even as they produce substandard results. The winners may be a blockbuster in revenue generation, cost savings, excitement or comfort (i.e., something that deserves a sequel).

An organization-wide business process assessment is a straightforward project, but because it will touch all major areas of your business, it will be time and resource consuming. Here’s the approach to conducting a business process assessment:

  1. Planning – Whether assembling a key internal team or outsourcing the project, project planning will lead to a successful analysis and prioritization of focus. This includes reviewing known areas of concern.
  2. Data assembly – This involves staff interviews on how processes are/aren’t working, reviewing policy manuals and data outputs.
  3. Testing – Once data has been assembled, testing will document and process map the processes under review. This step is necessary to document whether what was heard during the data assembly process is actually occurring.
  4. Analysis and recommendations – Testing results are analyzed and recommendations made on potential efficiency improvements.
  5. Process change implementation – After agreement by necessary parties, recommendations for process change are implemented. This involves training, testing and retraining to evaluate results.
  6. Follow-up – After a period of familiarization of new process implementation, it is prudent to review the changed processes to ensure they operate as designed—or tweak as needed.

And the award goes to

The beauty of the organization-wide business process assessment is that it can be executed in phases as schedules of internal personnel permit. In fact, some organizations use a multi-year cycle to review all major processes.

An organization may also gain efficiencies by engaging an external resource with deep knowledge of the public sector and business process best practices. An independent entity can focus on the review and developing insightful, actionable recommendations without turning day-to-day operations upside down.

By following the six steps to conducting an effective business process assessment, your organization will scour current business processes, toss out the rotten ones and polish the great ones. Those business processes that deserve the red carpet rollout and celebrity status are ready for their close-up!

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly public sector specialists can help, contact our team.

Russell A. Hissom
Partner Emeritus, CPA, CIA, CISA, CRMA
Government building
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GASB update for public sector organizations