Ask the Authors
Q: How do you become Agile in the accounting area when aspects such as internal controls cannot be delegated and have very little flexibility?
Author Steve Berez responds: While Agile principles like customer-centricity and transparency should apply throughout a company, it’s true that Agile practices—small, dedicated Agile teams working in short sprints to create a product incrementally and iteratively based on frequent customer feedback—don’t suit every task.
Still, plenty of opportunities remain for support and control groups to use Agile practices. An accounting group might stoke its innovation by setting up one or more temporary Agile teams to take on targeted business outcomes―such as reducing the time to close monthly financials by three days, or allocating distribution costs more accurately to product lines. Those teams would redesign processes, policies, tools, and responsibilities, typically disbanding once they achieve their goals.
Accounting might even take this approach to redesign its support for fast-paced Agile teams in other parts of the organization. By better meeting the needs of Agile innovation teams, support and control functions can speed and improve their work, in the process helping them achieve their important strategic goals.
You can read more on this topic in a recent article by my colleagues Arun Ganti and Jon Webber, Support and Control Functions Go Agile.