A Ton of Waste

Isn’t it sad to admit that the primary functions of finance are, by their very nature, a ton of waste?

As a CPA and information systems consultant, I remember when I realized that I was seen as the “enemy” of the LEAN experts. Management/cost accounting had become mired in the mud –actually driving wasteful recording, stuck in details that represented “muda” (waste) on the plant floor, adding no value to the customer, to the product or ultimately to the mission or objectives of the company.


I decided it was time to engage in my own “continuous improvement journey” to enhance my knowledge and acumen and discover how to ensure the finance and accounting functions could be a partner at the table, a catalyst for change, and a driver of new business value...

A force to compel organizations to add real measurable value to their customers lives and impact the markets they serve. Are you brave enough?

Are you brave enough?

  • To reflect with us on ways in which [traditional] finance functions are funding massive amounts of waste?

  • To consider how common financial constraints and organizational thinking are making value stream decisions difficult and encourage behavior leading to “incrementalism” instead of breakthrough opportunities and innovation?

We cannot ignore the groundbreaking thought leadership that has emerged over the last 10-20 years. In 2005, the Lean Enterprise Institute founded the Lean Accounting Summit with thought leaders such as:

  • Jean Cunningham

  • David Cochran

  • Orry Fiume

  • Brian Maskell

  • Bruce L. Baggaley

These leaders introduced concepts and approaches to help lead CFO’s, accountants and finance leaders everywhere out of the dark ages, focused only on historical accountability, and into the future.

We applaud their leadership and the great work that has been done.

LEI Vision Statement for Lean Accounting (1)

1) Provide understandable information to motivate lean transformation leading to increased customer value.

2) Use lean tools to eliminate waste from accounting practices.

3) Remain fully compliant with external regulatory requirements.

4) Support the lean culture by motivating investment in people, providing information that is relevant and actionable and empowering improvement at every level of the organization.

(1) Adapted from “Lean Accounting: What’s It All About” by Brian H Maskell and Bruce L. Baggaley, 2006

Our Goal:

To continue to promote their concepts and thought leadership, encourage new reflection and motivate organizations and finance leaders to consider what else needs to change... this is, after all, a continuous learning journey!

Never heard of any of this? Hey, it is not too late to get in the game!

If you want to cover some of the historical basics of the lean accounting movement there are many articles and resources you can research. In this series, we are going to focus on some of today’s suspects in this value-murder mystery, discuss key challenges and even more importantly, identify critical steps you need to take now.

Overcoming Obstacles to Effective Lean Accounting is the first in a series of six articles titled “Is Finance the Enemy of Breakthrough Innovation?” Authored by: Marita LaChapell, Kevin Hunter, Sam Winter Research supported by: ALIGN Financial, CI-Exchange.Org

To learn more about financial strategy and LEAN accounting with the Convene consulting platform, just click here. You will find a variety of consultants that can meet with you in person or online.

About the Author


Marita LaChapell

Marita's 30-year career brings a unique skill set as an experienced CFO / CPA with financial analysis expertise, Enterprise / Information Systems knowledge, and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt experience in transforming operations. Combined, this enables her to assist business owners in tackling their challenges and growing profitably. Through her expertise as a wealth advisor and personal financial specialist (CKA®, CLTC®) she can advise regarding the most impactful ways to utilize your and your company's wealth.

To learn more about her consulting practice and connect with Marita, view her profile or connect with her here.