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Agile for your Accounting Practice - December 2015

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Agile for your Accounting Practice - December 2015

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From Launchpad: The Future of Accounting and Technology - http://www.meetup.com/Launchpad-The-Future-of-Accounting-Technology/events/225606518/

"Change is hard... damn hard. Particularly in an accounting practice where we have never had to change as fast as we need to in this modern age of cloud technology. With the end of the year looming, it's a great time to plan and implement changes with the downtime before and after Christmas.

We want to bring you a masterclass on how to manage change at your practice, so we thought we'd bring in the guy who's helped change one of the largest software companies in the world to talk to you about the techniques you can use to manage and effect change at your practice.

Nick Muldoon is a proud Aussie that's just returned from a 3 year stint in San Francisco with Atlassian and Twitter, two of the software unicorns (Valuation > $1bn) of the world. Nick mastered the art of agile at Atlassian and then took on the challenge of bringing agile to Twitter's 4,000+ staff at their San Francisco head office."

From Launchpad: The Future of Accounting and Technology - http://www.meetup.com/Launchpad-The-Future-of-Accounting-Technology/events/225606518/

"Change is hard... damn hard. Particularly in an accounting practice where we have never had to change as fast as we need to in this modern age of cloud technology. With the end of the year looming, it's a great time to plan and implement changes with the downtime before and after Christmas.

We want to bring you a masterclass on how to manage change at your practice, so we thought we'd bring in the guy who's helped change one of the largest software companies in the world to talk to you about the techniques you can use to manage and effect change at your practice.

Nick Muldoon is a proud Aussie that's just returned from a 3 year stint in San Francisco with Atlassian and Twitter, two of the software unicorns (Valuation > $1bn) of the world. Nick mastered the art of agile at Atlassian and then took on the challenge of bringing agile to Twitter's 4,000+ staff at their San Francisco head office."

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Agile for your Accounting Practice - December 2015

  1. 1. AGILE FOR YOUR ACCOUNTING PRACTICE presented by Nicholas Muldoon @njm nick@arijea.com
  2. 2. NICHOLAS MULDOON ➤ Atlassian, 2007 - 2012 ➤ Product Manager, JIRA Agile ➤ Twitter, 2013 - Aug 2015 ➤ Coaching Directors and VPs ➤ Agile Industry Consortium ➤ Arijea, October 2015 - ➤ Founder ➤ Advisory and expertise for Atlassian Enterprise customers
  3. 3. “What does this guy know about accounting practices…?” -all of you
  4. 4. I am a customer.
  5. 5. I am a customer. Accounting is dead, long live accounting!
  6. 6. I am a customer. Accounting is dead, long live accounting! Customers are mobile. They want real time.
  7. 7. “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.” -William Gibson
  8. 8. AGILE FOR YOUR ACCOUNTING PRACTICE
  9. 9. http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/umbrella Scru m Kanba n X PLean DevOps LeSS SAFe DAD
  10. 10. KanbanWaterfall ChaosScrum Predictive Adaptive
  11. 11. KanbanWaterfall ChaosScrum Predictive Adaptive Reactive
  12. 12. agile methods KanbanWaterfall ChaosScrum Predictive Adaptive Reactive
  13. 13. KanbanWaterfall ChaosScrum Predictive Adaptive Reactive
  14. 14. KANBANDescendant of Toyota Production System and Lean Principles
  15. 15. The team is client focused. The team delivers quality, minimising waste. The team delivers iteratively to maximise learning. The team constantly improves their process.
  16. 16. definition of done confirm with the team and client what it means to complete a piece of work Tax Return • reviewed by a peer • reviewed by client • submitted to ATO • Notice of Assessment received • client paid or reimbursed by ATO • etc
  17. 17. visualise identify the activities the team goes through to deliver value to, or for, the client Future Today DoneDoing
  18. 18. limits limits helps work flow across the board ensuring we deliver value to our client asap < 4 < 4 Future Today DoneDoing
  19. 19. < 4 < 4 pull pull work as you have capacity don’t push work onto the team as it slows them down Future Today DoneDoing
  20. 20. WASTEDelays, mistakes…
  21. 21. MINIMISE CONTEXT SWITCHING Help the team focus
  22. 22. kanban visualise work, limit work in process, pull work as you have capacity, and minimise waste < 4 < 4 Future Today DoneDoing
  23. 23. agility never perfect experiment learn repeat
  24. 24. AGILE FOR YOUR ACCOUNTING PRACTICE presented by Nicholas Muldoon @njm nick@arijea.com

Editor's Notes

  • Evening folks, thanks for joining. And thanks to Practice Ignition for hosting!

    I’ve got 45 minutes to do a brain dump of all my knowledge and then it’s over to Guy to share the hit list for change in your practice in 2016.
  • A bit of background on me:
    5 years at Atlassian, most of that time as a Product Manager
    moved to San Francisco to head up Agile for Atlassian
    Through that work I met the team at Twitter
    I joined Twitter to help them scale the company effectively
    And after 3.5 years in San Francisco I moved the family to Australia to get our daughter closer to grandparents

    If we can get 3/3 doing billion dollar IPOs I’ll be pretty happy.

    That’s some background on me, now for Twitter…
  • I’m a customer. Have been with Interactive Accounting since they started and BDO before then.
  • More and more of the work you do and the services you provide can be quickly and easily outsourced, with high quality.

    A lot of what you did historically has been automated with better bank feeds and data sharing.

    The work you do and the services you deliver will have to change. Whether you like it or not.
  • Your customers are going mobile.

    HANDS UP: Does one or both of your parents own an iPhone?

    Right, everyone is mobile these days. They have the world at their fingertips, wherever they are (even when they are on holidays in Greece!).

    Customers are demanding more information and they want it in real time. They don’t want to have to wait for you to pull a report, they want that delivered NOW.
  • Yet.

    That’s the key thing. It’s not too late… yet.

    You have time to change your practice. Don’t wait too long.
  • Okay, so what is agile and why would an accounting practice want to be agile anyway?
  • agile is an umbrella term - it encapsulates various practices, principles and methods of getting work done.

    many of the terms you see here are related to software engineering, don’t let that scare you.

    accountants, indeed any team, can borrow from these practices, principles and methods and adapt them to their own environment.
  • For example, here is a board from Charter Hall’s finance team. Renee Troughton (over there in the yellow top) can walk you through these in detail. Long story short, she is bringing agility to business teams at Charter Hall.

    We’ll explore what all this means in more detail shortly.
  • Here is another example from Charter Hall, this time a run the business team.
  • So, there are many methods under the agile umbrella. There are also methods that are not “agile”:
    Waterfall, a predictive method, focuses on setting the goal and path to achieve the goal upfront and following that.
    Chaos is right at the other end of the scale, having no plans and constant change.

    All of these methods were created to help teams get work done. The agile approaches have proven more effective.
  • HANDS UP: who has an accounting practice over here, in Chaos?

    Don’t be shy… you’re amongst friends….
  • Okay, well Agile methods are not chaos, and they are adaptive.

    Agile methods allow teams to respond to changing circumstances and information.

    And that’s what we’re focusing on this evening.
  • We’ll look at Kanban in detail as I believe it is particularly well suited to much of the work that accounting practices undertake.
  • A bit of history:
    Taiichi Ohno (1950’s) is considered the father of the Toyota Production System.
    TPS enabled Toyota to out maneuver the big American manufacturers and deliver higher quality products to market faster
    The Western auto manufacturers adapted TPS into Lean Manufacturing.
    More recently we see the Lean movement in software engineering, under the moniker Kanban.
    Kanban is the Japanese word for sign card, at which point were full circle with a nod back to the Toyota Production System.
  • Some of the principles behind this approach include:

    Eliminate Waste
    Build Quality In
    Respect for people
    A company that respects its people develops good leaders
    They have the kind of leadership that fosters engaged, thinking people and focuses their efforts on creating a great product.
    Instead of telling people what to do and how to do it, you develop a reflexive organization where people use their heads and figure out the solution for themselves.
    Optimize the whole system
    and so on
  • First things first, let’s start at the end.
    What does it mean to be done?

    When have we delivered value to, or for, the client?
  • Once we know what it means to be done we can work backwards and spell out all the steps it takes to get a piece of work Done.

    Kanban is particularly interested in visualisation and sharing status with the team. For that reason we build a board - a kanban board - to show every piece of work in the system.

    WALKTHROUGH
  • Remember this example from before. We have columns for:
    future
    this week
    today
    doing, and
    done

    We don’t want to take on too much work as we want the team to deliver quality and minimise waste.

    If you were to work on five tax returns at once how effective do you think you’d be?

    For this reason we keep an eye on the amount of work that we have in our Doing column. We never want it to get out of hand.
  • And obviously we want to get pieces of work from left to right as promptly as possible. One technique teams will use is limits.

    They will set a limit on one or more columns to improve the flow of pieces of work across the kanban board. It helps the team focus and make sure they are not taking on too much work at once.
  • To further assist the flow of work from Doing to Done we pull work from the right.
    If the team has five pieces of work in the Doing column then a person will help another team member with their work before pulling another piece of work from the Today column.
    This helps get work done as quickly as possible, and done is value delivered to your clients.
  • One of the techniques we use to understand the time taken to deliver a piece of work is a control chart.

    WALKTHROUGH (Tax Returns)
    explain how Renee understands the time taken

    A control chart shows us the time a piece of work spends in Doing. It allows you to set client expectations - for example, “the average tax return takes 40 days to complete and get the refund banked”.

    Understand what it costs to deliver a tax return, so you know if that service is profitable or if you need to raise your prices.
  • That Control Chart helps us identify waste in the system.

    And if we find waste we want to eliminate it.

    Examples of waste include unfinished tax returns and unsent engagement letters.

    This partially done work gets lost, goes out of date, and ties up money.
  • One example of a waste common in many practices is context switching.

    There is so much going on - what with Facebook, client calls, lunch, etc - that we often lose a tremendous amount of time on non-billable work.

    Being able to focus is essential. It makes for more productive staff and enables them to get more work done.

    Try CORE WORKING HOURS of 10 - 12 and 2 - 4 where there are no calls, no emails, and no interruptions and see how it impacts the control chart we looked at earlier.
  • So, to recap, here are a few things to consider if you’re going to experiment with kanban in your practice:
    visualise the work that you’ve got to get done
    limit the amount of work you start so you don’t have lots of work in progress at once
    pull from the right and help a colleague get something done before starting something new yourself - as done represents value to the client
    and finally, look for waste in the system and work to minimise it (automate as much as you can, get rid of admin expense, use Practice Ignition!!!)
  • Agile:
    an umbrella term that includes many methods
    methods designed to help teams deliver value to clients effectively
    anyone, including accountants, can borrow from the methods and adapt to their needs
    we’re never perfect and there is always room for improvement

    At the end of the day agility is about improvement:
    improvements to the service we deliver, and
    improvements in how we get work done
  • So, that is a brain dump on agile and one method, kanban, that is useful for an accounting practice.

    Happy to answer any questions for a few minutes before we hand it over to Guy.
  • ×