STARK RAVINGS
The Newsletter of the IMA Canton Chapter

June 2017

 http://canton.imanet.org

Jeff Walters, President
Cullen Bahler, Editor

In this issue:

Message from the President

IMA International Conference

The Blueprint for Continuous Accounting

Webinar Schedule

IMA Technical Sessions

Connect with Us!

Do you have info to share with our chapter? Email it to news@cantonima.org.

If you wish a colleague to receive these announcements, send an email to news@cantonima.org and we will add them to our announcement list.

Message from the President:
Continuing the Tradition of Success

Thank you to our members for making 2016-2017 another great Chapter year! We are pleased to announce that we came in 6th place in the Warner division and will again receive an award which will be presented at the national conference. The Chapter has a rich tradition of placing high in the Chapter competitions and it's our goal to continue that tradition with the help of your involvement. Whether it's serving on the board, community service activities or simply attending the monthly technical sessions to earn continuing education credits, it's your involvement that allows us to place high in the Chapter competitions while giving you the value you deserve for your membership.

Congratulations to three individuals who passed the CMA exam during the Chapter year and were recognized at the May technical session: Michael Mayer, Christopher Ippolito and David Schusler.

We were also pleased to present co-member of the year awards to Karen Hutnick and Kathy Figard at the May technical session. The Owen E. Riley Member of the Year Award is a way of saying “Thank You” for being actively involved in the Canton Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, and both Karen and Kathy are highly-deserving of the award.
The Board of Directors will be busy this summer planning for the 2017-2018 Chapter year. We're looking forward to another great year of technical programs and community service opportunities. If you have any ideas or suggestions for programs, please let any of the board members know so that we can provide programs of interest to you.

We hope you enjoy the summer and will look forward to seeing you at the monthly technical sessions beginning with Student Night in September.

Thank you,

Jeffrey A. Walters, President
jwalters@CBIZ.com 

 

IMA Member Benefit
Join us at IMA's Annual Conference & Exposition: June 17 - 21

Strategic Finance
THE BLUEPRINT FOR CONTINUOUS ACCOUNTING

BY ISAAC TUCKER

This is an abstract from the article. For the full text, click here

In today’s highly complex global business environment, companies are constantly expected to do more with less—to run leaner while becoming more efficient and effective than ever. This is especially true for the accounting and finance areas. They’re now required to not only deliver periodic financial data and reports but also real-time analysis and intelligence.

To meet these mounting demands, finance is shifting from traditional, rigid, and manual accounting processes to more automated, more flexible, and more agile operations. This shift is essential because it provides the productivity benefits that free organizations to deepen their focus on analyzing and reporting financial performance.

Technology is changing the way business is done all around us, and it’s time for accounting and finance to realize the evolutionary—and revolutionary—benefits of innovation. But technology is only part of the solution. True organizational transformation requires a fundamental shift in philosophy, one that combines technology with a focus on reimagining legacy processes, empowering the best employees, and embracing a culture of continuous improvement.

THERE’S A BETTER WAY

A new approach called Continuous Accounting can be thought of as real-time R2R, a blueprint for a more modern accounting organization, and a call to evolve beyond batch processing. It embeds automation, control, and period-end tasks within day-to-day activities, allowing the rigid accounting calendar to mirror the broader business more closely. And it transforms the way business processes work by emphasizing real-time processing by highly skilled employees, coupled with deep analysis. The result is a more efficient close, more accurate financials, and a more effective organization.

Also, Continuous Accounting more evenly distributes the workload associated with the period-end close while enabling constant reporting, verification, and analysis. The ability to perform tasks in smaller chunks on a more frequent basis evens out workloads. Being able to evaluate the integrity of information at any point in time facilitates continual monitoring for errors, fraud, and inefficiencies. Anytime access to the data allows teams to look at the impact of changes such as currency fluctuations with up-to-date financial intelligence.

This concept represents a fundamental shift in the way that accounting and finance are done. When automatic processing eliminates rote tasks, accuracy is inherent. Continuous Accounting empowers accounting and finance teams with real-time intelligence, enabling skilled accountants to spend more time on strategic research and analysis and become proactive business leaders instead of reactive operators.

BUILDING YOUR FUTURE

As mentioned earlier, the first step in any process is always the hardest one to take. Implementing Continuous Accounting is certainly no exception. Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Analyze your current state. What are your greatest challenges? Consider visibility and efficiency gaps, determine your exposure to risk, and ask the members of your team to help you identify the most painful, inefficient, and risky accounting processes.

Step 2: Design your future state. Imagine the ideal state of your organization by playing the “What If” game to design your plan for the future. Start with the low-hanging fruit and areas with excess risk exposure. Then identify critical areas for regular review and proactive investigation.

Step 3: Automate and optimize processes. Split and batch processes into smaller components, then schedule those components more often and embed them within daily activities. After your processes have been improved and standardized, automate wherever possible.

Step 4: Monitor metrics and results. Leverage continuous activity to constantly review output, and investigate alerts from flux analysis, exceptions, and anomalies. Make adjustments as needed in real time.

Step 5: Review outcomes and controls. Either quarterly or annually, review the outcomes of your Continuous Accounting journey. Discover macro trends, and identify process and controls gaps. Compare the results against your original objectives: What worked and what didn’t?

Step 6: Improve continuously. Combine the knowledge gleaned from the Review stage, then rinse and repeat! Return to step 1 and focus on a more challenging tier of improvements (i.e., the risky and critical gaps).

THE FUTURE OF FINANCE IS BRIGHT

Continuous Accounting is an exciting and novel approach that delivers incredible benefits for accounting and finance. Instead of enduring reactive operations, organizations and teams work proactively. Instead of gross workload imbalances, work is distributed throughout the period, freeing time for in-depth analysis and more value-added projects. With unique visibility into the current state of a company’s finances, company leadership and the entire business realize unprecedented agility.

A world where the CFO can walk into any meeting and provide real-time, up-to-date, up-to-the-minute financial intelligence is achievable. Modernizing legacy R2R processes isn’t an option, and any company that avoids transforming its finance function is putting itself at risk.

Beyond the risks associated with out-of-date accounting and finance practices, the increasingly complex nature of global business cycles means that companies that are slow to modernize their accounting operations will remain at a competitive disadvantage.

Remember, think like this so you can build your future:

... People are valuable. We don’t waste their time.
... Technology is powerful. We use it to enable our people.
... Processes are malleable. They change to fit our objectives.
... Numbers matter. We use metrics to improve everything we do.
... Nothing is perfect. We’re continuously improving.

The best-performing accounting and finance teams know that success means always adapting, innovating, and improving. This shouldn’t be discouraging—it should be inspiring. When it comes to your own organization, no matter what’s going on right now, every day can be better than the last!

Source: http://sfmagazine.com/post-entry/may-2017-the-blueprint-for-continuous-accounting/ 

 

Webinar Schedule

You will earn CMA and CPE credits when you attend any live webinar. Replay webinars are available in the archive but do not earn credits. Advance registration is recommended—IMA webinars are popular and fill up quickly.

Blockchain: What is it?
Why Should I Care?

June 5, 2017
1:00 - 2:30 pm EDT

Coaching
June 6, 2017
1:00 - 2:30 pm EDT

The Future Role of Finance -
The Changing Role of the Finance Professional

June 14, 2017
1:00 - 2:00 pm EDT

The ROI of T&E: How Expense Reporting Pays for Itself
June 22, 2017
1:00 - 2:00 pm EDT

The Impact of Social Media on Leadership
July 11, 2017
1:00 - 2:30 pm EDT

 

Register for Any Webinar

 

Mark Your Calendar:
Join Us at IMA Technical Sessions

2016-2017 tech sessions will be held at Kozmo's Grille with the exceptions noted below. There are two hour-long sessions beginning at 5:00 and 7:00 and dinner in between.

  • 2017-2018 schedule to be announced soon!
 

Cost for dinner is $30 regardless of the location. Please look for invite emails with registration information prior to each meeting.

Schedule:

• Social/Networking at 4:45 pm

• Pre-Dinner Technical Session at 5:00

• Dinner at 6:00 pm

• Post-Dinner Technical Session at 7:00 pm

More info: http://canton.imanet.org

 


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info@cantonima.org


The mission of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is to provide a forum for research, practice development, education, knowledge sharing, and the advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance. Please join us as we promote this mission in the greater Canton, Ohio, area.


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