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Special Report 13: Benchmarking finance and accounting

Every finance director recognises the need to drive performance improvement and to manage organisational change but it can seem a daunting prospect without a clear idea of what you should be aiming for and how to get there.

This 24-page special report provides a clear framework by which to plan a review of your finance function: to identify areas for improvement; to map and measure these processes; to compare your findings to best practice and most significantly to act on your findings.

Benchmarking and performance measurement and management are topics which are consistently flagged as key by members in the Faculty's annual technical issues survey. Thus we have commissioned APQC, the US-based not-for-profit organisation which houses one of the world's best repositories of benchmarking metrics, process measures and key practices, to produce this guide. Their aim is to help organisations build better ways to work, adapt to change, and succeed in the marketplace. For more information, visit www.apqc.org or call 001 713 681 4020.

This report is designed to be a practical tool and includes questions to prepare you for benchmarking, a central methodology and an appendix that provides a comprehensive breakdown of organisational processes on which to focus your attention. This tool is fully transferable to other parts of your organisation and is an area in which finance departments can lead the rest of the business.

Do not underestimate the effort involved in benchmarking. It can be hard work to collect the information. We often are asked by members where they can get benchmarking metrics; in our experience this information is not generally available except to those who contribute data. The offer from APQC, in which you can participate in the Open Standards Benchmarking Collaborative (OSBC) research by visiting www.apqc.org/financeorg, provides an opportunity to participate in a benchmarking exercise, thus helping to better understand your performance and prioritise improvement efforts.

Published by the Finance and Management faculty (SR13 - September 2006)

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