I have been speaking with a prospective customer for the past several weeks about Fractional CFO solutions. In our initial conversations, it appeared that they would be a great fit. Then, we started to dig into their processes and found a hornet’s nest of applications and processes, none of which seemed to complement each other and nearly all of which would have to be revised over time in this new engagement. Nothing we hadn’t seen before.
But then we get the frantic email that they need us to start immediately because one of their key employees was quitting. We had to respectfully bow out of consideration for the engagement because they needed instant turnaround, and it would have taken us months to build new processes and get rid of the old ones that didn’t work.
We see a lot of businesses that have what we call Process Paralysis. This means that the business has many different and disjointed processes, and in most cases, is doing basic tasks in the most ineffective way possible. Here are the most common symptoms:
• The business is more than 5 years old;
• The owners are busy and have outsourced process-building to people who are either unqualified to build the processes or unable to do so because they, too, have more work than they can handle;
• There are multiple processes in place to accomplish the same task because new processes were built on the fly (and none of them are optimal);
• The tech stack of the company is comprised of native applications (installed on a single computer) and cloud applications, none of which sync or with each other.
Process Paralysis is born out of a desire to make things better, but an inability to follow through and completely implement a new idea causes you to freeze. You run out of interest, you run out of time, or you weren’t equipped well enough to build this process and it just died on the table. So, how do you cure it?
• You have to analyze your business’ ecosystem and be realistic about what is not working;
• You have to delegate process-building to someone who has a vested interest in making things better and who has knowledge about the solutions that exist (applications, software, best practices); or
• You outsource it to someone who has experience in process-building and then you do what they recommend.
We love helping customers redesign their internal accounting systems as part of our Fractional CFO engagements as well as our Grow-Up Consulting engagements. If you are experiencing Process Paralysis in your financial functions, it may be time to re-think your processes and experience the freedom of movement that comes with a well-designed system.