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The Lean approach for a more productive Finance function

Press Release   •   Oct 11, 2016 10:45 +08

Date 11 October 2016

Natalie Choo

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Sheryl Koh

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The Lean approach for a more productive Finance function

Singapore, 11 October 2016 – The Finance function in organisations needs to instil a culture of continuous improvement and cut waste from its processes if it is to break out of a vicious cycle of low productivity, low staff morale, high attrition and poor capability.

According to professional services firm PwC, while many aspects of businesses are increasingly adopting new technologies, finance functions cannot lag behind.

“The common misconception is that automation will solve the key problems in finance functions, but automation alone does not guarantee success. The finance heads must streamline the process by minimising non-value added activities,” said R Raghunathan, Partner, PwC South East Asian Consulting.

Organisations big and small are faced with two key challenges in today’s increasingly complex business environment.

The first is how to improve productivity to continue to deliver profitable growth, while the second issue is how to transform the business to deal with disruption in the external environment.

Against this backdrop, the finance function is also being forced to adapt and adopt new methods and technologies to deliver greater value to the business.

To provide practical tips to organisations on transforming their finance function for the future, PwC, in partnership with global accountancy body CPA Australia, has just released a new toolkit titled ‘Raising Finance Productivity and Capability: The Lean Approach’.

The toolkit, launched at today’s CPA Congress organised by CPA Australia, shares knowledge and suggests possible solutions based on what is known as “Lean principles” for organisations to cut waste, build capabilities, and sustain productivity gains in the Finance function.

Lean is a process improvement technique used to create more value for an organisation’s customers, both external and internal, by minimising waste.

It also advocates a culture of building capabilities and continuous improvement driven by employees at all levels and responsibilities – in short, a whole of organisation approach.

With proper implementation, organisations will see the benefits of the Lean approach through efficiency gains, improved financial performance and higher employee engagement.

CPA Australia added that building capabilities goes beyond just acquiring the technical skills to work in the finance function.

“It is also about finance professionals being strategic and having an understanding of how the pieces fit together into the larger picture for the organisation. If finance teams can embrace ongoing training and a culture of continuous improvement, they will be able to move away from traditional transactional roles to creating value for their organisations at a time defined by digital disruption at the workplace,” said Melvin Yong, Singapore Country Head, CPA Australia.


Note to Editor:

The toolkit by CPA Australia and PwC ‘Raising Finance Productivity and Capability: The Lean Approach’ comprising five booklets, shares knowledge and suggests possible solutions based on the Lean approach to improve productivity and capability in the Finance function. The report includes case studies to illustrate how getting the right people to lead transformation efforts is critical for success.

To access the toolkit online, go to:

About CPA Australia

Founded in 1886, CPA Australia is one of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies, representing more than 155,000 members working in 120 countries. More than 25,000 members hold senior leadership positions. CPA Australia advances its members’ interests through its focus on education and knowledge exchange, the development of professional networks, advocacy in relation to policy, standards and regulation and the promotion of value of CPA Australia members to employers, government, regulators and the public. The CPA Australia designation denotes strategic business leadership and is recognised and valued throughout the world.

For more information, please visit

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details.

© 2016 PwC. All rights reserved

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