I’m reading a book right now called The Road to Reinvention by Josh Linkner about being disruptive and transforming your organization or industry. Right now we are going through a great age of disruption, and you want to be the one doing the disrupting, not the one disrupted. So to do something different tonight, this post will be about ideas for disruption, even if they are bad ideas.
So let’s start off with products. What’s your product? Is it the financial report? Maybe you can rearrange it to make it more informative. How about showing both accrual basis and cash flow, with the cash flow section showing paid and unpaid (or accrued), that way you can show how the cash relates to the normal reports you do? Maybe you can create some kind of scorecard or metrics that is relevant to your company. Can you add insightful analysis? Right now, at least with the ones I know, I don’t see a lot of that going on.
Big data is a hot topic right now and you deal with data all of the time! Is there something you can utilize from the big data world? Of course, this isn’t new and therefore you would not be very disruptive BUT I imagine not a lot of you are really doing anything with your data.
How about your processes? Is there some aspect of your process that you are still doing just because it has always been that way? Are you still doing manual entries? A lot of you financial types are still keying in numbers. While the automation idea may not really be that new, it seems that there are enough finance types who are still doing manual work. Can you change your close process? Can you do a daily soft close? That might be extreme but then maybe not amongst the more evolved companies.
Customers are usually another area for reinvention. Are there other customers you could be serving? Should your reorient your focus from strictly managers to the field folks? I’m just throwing out ideas here.
How about getting crazier and do accounting not only for the normal typical things but for hard to measure things such as talent or future potential. This is outside of finance, but hey, we are talking about reinvention here. Dream big.
Another area the book discusses is creating experiences but maybe for financial types, a more relevant idea would be creating compelling stories that add meaning to the numbers. I know most of you finance types are not eager to go much beyond the typical financial reporting but telling stories behind the numbers might get your point across. And it would stick with your audience a lot longer because there would be nothing like it out there.
Change your culture! Maybe you could transition from the quarterly reporting that drives short-termism to just an annual reporting. Maybe you can start focusing more on what is good for the society rather than creating value for just for a narrow slice of your community. A lot of people are looking to change what capitalism means and what it should do. Don’t get left behind.
Of course, all of this is going to take a lot of work. None of it looks easy and that might be why you don’t do them. Also, it takes courage to do something different. But according to Josh Linkner, either you do the disrupting or you will be disrupted.