Key leaders at Lean Accounting Summit

Lean Accounting

What is Lean Accounting?

Lean Accounting, simply put, is the application of Lean Thinking to Accounting and Finance: improve customer value by first understanding what creates value and then driving out the waste that gets in the way. This challenges us in the Accounting and Finance team to understand who our customers are, and how what we do enables them to create value for the organization’s end customers.

Why is Lean Accounting important?

Lean Accounting enables, focuses and accelerates the Lean organization’s progress in improving customer value. The Lean Accounting and Finance team creates capacity through continuous process improvement so that we can dedicate our skills and capabilities to informing value-creating decisions. Value-added activities range from informing understanding of the drivers of financial outcomes through Lean operations, to informing decisions that improve profitability, to advancing the capability of strategy deployment by making the right things visible: measuring the right things in the clearest, most effective way.

Learn more about how to introduce or advance Lean Thinking in your Accounting and Finance team by exploring this website and contacting us.

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Latest in Lean Accounting from our Knowledge Center

Profit and Cost at Toyota

“Lean isn’t a religion or a cost-cutting measure.” This has become my mantra. I’ve learned that Lean is a comprehensive managerial system–and the best way to create value for customers, the company, and employees.

July 12, 2019


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Connect with the Lean Accounting Community

Community forum for Finance and Accounting.

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Upcoming Workshops, Summits, Webinars

Lean Accounting Summit – Austin, TX

The Lean Accounting Summit has long served the accounting community by exploring accounting’s role in measuring and motivating the lean enterprise. The goal of this Summit has been to better align Accounting with Operations inside of an organization. We’ve taken this one step further by intentionally bringing in a mix of Management-related topics that are outside of accounting directly, but closely connected to accounting.

September 12-13, 2019

Capturing the Value of Lean – Chicago, IL

The profit model has helped companies to look at their efforts and impact of lean in a practical and productive way. It helps bridge the gap between two ineffective strategies: managing only by numbers and managing by no numbers at all. Toyota talks about numbers. In lean, we should as well. This workshop offers a way to talk about lean in connection with financial impact using a model that has been successfully applied at both small and large companies.

October 22, 2019

Lean Summit – Carlsbad, CA

LEI summits and conferences raise consciousness, generate enthusiasm, and explore new frontiers in Lean Thinking. You’ll learn from leading lean practitioners and colleagues who have faced the same challenges you face now. You'll also enjoy the industry's best networking to build (or continue to build) your own network of lean thinkers. Summits are two-day events designed for mid- to upper-level managers, with a focus on sustaining the lean journey, and insights into innovative ways to enhance your lean journey. Conferences are one- or two-day events that are more narrow-scoped, and could range from lean manager fundamentals to other topical themes.

April 5-8, 2020


Fall Conference Schedule

2019 Iowa Lean Consortium Conference – Des Moines, IA

Nick Katko will be presenting a breakout session on an Introduction to Lean Accounting.

October 29-31, 2019

2019 AME International Conference – Chicago, IL

1/2 Day Workshop November 4, 2019: Financial Management Practices for the Lean Organization, presented by Nick Katko.

November 4-7, 2019

2019 Lean Gulf Summit – Dubai, UAE

Nick Katko will be presenting a post-conference workshop and breakout session on Lean Accounting.

November 12-14, 2019

An Introduction to Lean Accounting – Chesire, England

1 day workshop presented by Nick Katko

December 3, 2019

3-Day Lean Accounting Masterclass – Kolding, Denmark

Presented by Nick Katko

December 10-12, 2019


8 Wastes: Finance examples

Waste Internal External
Defects Filed with incorrect name Wrong account number on invoice
Over Production Creating reports that have information not read Raw materials requiring an obsolescence reserve
Waiting Review cost entries monthly Timesheet not submitted
Neglect of Human Talent Don’t know how a report is used by a recipient Users don’t know meaning of account names
Transportation Split costs between departments Sending hard copy to accounting
Inventory Processing employee expense reports weekly WIP transactions that sit more than one day
Motion Going to file cabinet to get hardcopy documents Bringing invoices to accounting
Excess Processing Sorting invoices by vendor name Keeping a spreadsheet of invoices sent to accounting

Suggested Reading

Real Numbers (eBook)

By Jean Cunningham

Real Numbers

By Jean E. Cunningham and Orest J. Fiume

The Value Add Accountant

By Jean Cunningham

Easier, Simpler, Faster

By Jean Cunningham and Duane Jones