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By McVay, Gloria; Kennedy, Frances; Fullerton, Rosemary

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Additional resources for Accounting in the Lean Enterprise : Providing Simple, Practical, and Decision-Relevant Information

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The purpose of this chapter is to give you a broad understanding and appreciation of how accounting should be part of an overall business strategy that is built around lean principles. After reading this section, you should have a clearer comprehension of the following: ◾◾ How to better integrate the accounting area into the lean philosophy. ◾◾ Information requirements for a lean organization. ◾◾ The basic principles of lean accounting. ◾◾ Implementation strategies of lean accounting. ◾◾ Challenges of changing the accounting system.

It is important to avoid tracking too many metrics, because that creates waste and reduces the focus of your employees. Most importantly, these metrics must be visible and updated frequently. A “box score” format for tracking key operational, capacity, and financial measures is used by many lean companies. The box scores, which are generally updated weekly with actual results, also maintain a column showing the future desired state. Many firms use nonfinancial metrics to evaluate operations along with their traditional financial measures, but very few understand and measure their capacity.

Accountants have a reputation for being particularly slow to respond to the call of change. They are typically risk averse and steeped in tradition. Thus, the perception by operations management is often that the accountants in general are the proverbial “bean counters” that “do their own thing” in crunching the numbers, and they are either not interested or uninformed as to the activities, processes, and decision making that occur on the shop floor. This scenario is unfortunate for both parties.

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