I hope 2019 has been a wonderful year for you. I am very thankful for good health, family, friends, and—not to be overlooked—that I was appointed LEI’s Chairman this year. Through my LEI role I’ve been able to meet so many new and wonderful people in the lean community this year which has been exciting and enlightening. So many people striving to learn and practice lean. I see so much opportunity for us collectively to continue growing as a lean community. It is also terrific to be able to reflect on and enjoy the progress that has been made so far!
At this time of year, I reflect on my personal goals and accomplishments and set some new and revised targets for the coming year. I personally started this end-of-year reflection and planning time in a serious way several years ago, and it has become a tradition that I value and find renewing. I think a lot of people do something similar as the new year approaches. Reflection can and maybe should be at any time. I think doing it this time of year was baked into tradition long ago with our forefathers as part of the agrarian societies of old driven by planting cycles, the moon, the sun, spirituality, and who knows what else when humanity was dependent on the natural calendar. Somewhat related, LEI is in the process of moving its fiscal year from starting in July to matching the calendar year to reduce confusion and match the tradition. We all know the calendar. Why have something different? The more our business world matches our personal world in terminology, cadences, and values, I think the easier it is for us to bring our full selves to work and to play.
For me, my reflection is not separated between work and play, but I look at my relationships, health, learning, and service in total. I try to set specific targets and action experiments to bring me closer to the targets. In reflecting on my reflections (!!!) and plans over the last several years, originally topping the list was a value, “Assume the Best”. More recently “Wisdom, Kindness, and Warmth” has become my guiding light. On these and everything else on my list, there is progress yet to be made, but I keep trying and learning, and it helps me feel alive and happy.
This year my written reflection and experiments are taking more the form of a personal A3 that consists of a series of sketches and very few words. These sketches and targets are for me, so I have put them in a format I enjoy creating.
All of us at LEI wish our community glad tidings and good cheer. I personally offer encouragement for reflection, planning, and experimenting both at work and at play!
Happy holidays and have a superb new year and 2020.
Best wishes to all!
Chairman, Lean Enterprise Institute
An Accountant’s Guide to Understanding Lean Accounting
I think one of the difficulties accountants face in understanding Lean Accounting is that we are trained to be “doers” of accounting. Our training and education is about how to perform accounting tasks and functions, from learning the basics of journal entries in Accounting 101 to how to close the month in the company we work at. We want to master how to execute, and the better we are at executing, the better accountants we are.
To understand Lean Accounting, accountants need to adjust their perspective from “doing” to “practicing.” And the first step to begin practicing Lean Accounting is to change the way we think as accountants.
Lean Accounting Is Simpler, Faster, Cheaper, and More Accurate Than Traditional Management Accounting, so Why Don’t More Companies Use It?
Five thought leaders of the movement recently held a special conversation about what lean accounting is and isn’t, why it is vital to sustaining a culture of continuous improvement, how it relates to GAAP, and why it provides a truer picture of how your company is performing. As long-time lean accounting practitioners, they also liberally share practical, real-world examples of how traditional accounting can mislead and misinform decision-makers.
Thoughts on the Birth of Lean
There is much to be learned from the history of Lean that applies powerfully today in every aspect of the business. In this summary of key points from The Birth of Lean, LEI Chair Jean Cunningham shares insights from her reading of the book, and invites you to share thoughts as well.