What are Operational Reviews

Faced with growing competition, businesses continually need to find new innovative solutions and ideas to improved organizational performance, especially in various cut-throat industries where innovation and good management can make or break the company.

This is the reason why, businesses place greater emphasis on the evaluation of efficiency, effectiveness, and economics of its operations.

Conducting regular Operational Reviews are key to keeping your company at peak performance.

What is an Operational Review

An operational review is an in-depth and objective review of an entire organization or a specific segment of that organization. It can be used to identify and address existing concerns within your company such as communication issues between departments, problems with customer relations, operating procedures, lack of profitability issues, and other factors that affect the stability of the business.

Operational reviews allow the organization members to evaluate how well they are performing, given that they perform appropriately according to the procedures set by them, allocating their resources properly, and performing such tasks within time frame set and using cost-effective measures. More importantly, it also shows your company how well it is prepared to meet future challenges.

What are the objectives of an Operational Review

The goals of an operational review are to increase revenue, improve market share, and reduce cost.

An operational review allows the management to see their company in a different light i.e a larger perspective. That is, it gives the management the opportunity to evaluate if the entrusted resources were used wisely to achieve the desired results of operations.

Operational reviews provide a comprehensive assessment of authority in that they help define expectations, and empower people within an organization to enact? up on it. This is due feedback provided will help them to better gauge the value of tasks performed and whether the job is being done the right or wrong way, and on what areas the company can excel and improve on.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Questions worth considering in an Operational Review

Are you able to view your own organization as a whole from an objective angle?

Do the different departments complement each other so that they form a cohesive unit that boosts your business in the right direction?

With our comprehensive assessment of your organization?s current systems, operations, processes, and strategies, our operational review programs aim to help you in achieving these lofty goals: to improve business profitability and identify incompetence in both operations and organizational systems.

Benefits of an Operational Review

The main objective of an operational review is to help organizations like yours to learn how to deal with and address issues, instead of simply reacting to the challenges brought about by growth and change.

Information and data gathered in an Operational Review is practical from both a financial and operational perspective. Using? data, management can then formulate recommendations, which are not only realistic, but more importantly, can help the organization achieve its goals.

The Operational Review recognizes the extent to which your internal controls actually work, and enables you to identify and understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

What should be included in an operational review

  • Assess compliance within your own organizational objectives, policies and procedures
  • Evaluate specific company operations independently and objectively
  • Impartial assessment regarding the effectiveness of an organization’s control systems
  • Identify the appropriate standards for quantifying achievement of organizational objectives
  • Evaluate the reliability and value of the company’s management data and reports
  • Pinpoint problem areas and their underlying causes
  • Identify opportunities to increase profit, augment revenue, and reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of the product or service.

More Operational Review Blogs

 

Carrying out an Operational Review

 

Operational Reviews

 

Operational Efficiency Initiatives

 

Operational Review Defined

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  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 – UK

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The Better Way of Applying Benford’s Law for Fraud Detection

Applying Benford’s Law on large collections of data is an effective way of detecting fraud. In this article, we?ll introduce you to Benford’s Law, talk about how auditors are employing it in fraud detection, and introduce you to a more effective way of integrating it into an IT solution.

Benford’s Law in a nutshell

Benford’s Law states that certain data sets – including certain accounting numbers – exhibit a non-uniform distribution of first digits. Simply put, if you gather all the first digits (e.g. 8 is the first digit of ?814 and 1 is the first digit of ?1768) of all the numbers that make up one of these data sets, the smallest digits will appear more frequently than the larger ones.

That is, according to Benford’s Law,

1 should comprise roughly 30.1% of all first digits;
2 should be 17.6%;
3 should be 12.5%;
4 should be 9.7%, and so on.

Notice that the 1s (ones) occur far more frequently than the rest. Those who are not familiar with Benford’s Law tend to assume that all digits should be distributed uniformly. So when fraudulent individuals tinker with accounting data, they may end up putting in more 9s or 8s than there actually should be.

Once an accounting data set is found to show a large deviation from this distribution, then auditors move in to make a closer inspection.

Benford’s Law spreadsheets and templates

Because Benford’s Law has been proven to be effective in discovering unnaturally-behaving data sets (such as those manipulated by fraudsters), many auditors have created simple software solutions that apply this law. Most of these solutions, owing to the fact that a large majority of accounting departments use spreadsheets, come in the form of spreadsheet templates.

You can easily find free downloadable spreadsheet templates that apply Benford’s Law as well as simple How-To articles that can help you to implement the law on your own existing spreadsheets. Just Google “Benford’s law template” or “Benford’s law spreadsheet”.

I suggest you try out some of them yourself to get a feel on how they work.

The problem with Benford’s Law when used on spreadsheets

There’s actually another reason why I wanted you to try those spreadsheet templates and How-To’s yourself. I wanted you to see how susceptible these solutions are to trivial errors. Whenever you work on these spreadsheet templates – or your own spreadsheets for that matter – when implementing Benford’s Law, you can commit mistakes when copy-pasting values, specifying ranges, entering formulas, and so on.

Furthermore, some of the data might be located in different spreadsheets, which can likewise by found in different departments and have to be emailed for consolidation. The departments who own this data will have to extract the needed data from their own spreadsheets, transfer them to another spreadsheet, and send them to the person in-charge of consolidation.

These activities can introduce errors as well. That’s why we think that, while Benford’s Law can be an effective tool for detecting fraud, spreadsheet-based working environments can taint the entire fraud detection process.

There?s actually a better IT solution where you can use Benford’s Law.

Why a server-based solution works better

In order to apply Benford’s Law more effectively, you need to use it in an environment that implements better controls than what spreadsheets can offer. What we propose is a server-based system.

In a server-based system, your data is placed in a secure database. People who want to input data or access existing data will have to go through access controls such as login procedures. These systems also have features that log access history so that you can trace who accessed which and when.

If Benford’s Law is integrated into such a system, there would be no need for any error-prone copy-pasting activities because all the data is stored in one place. Thus, fraud detection initiatives can be much faster and more reliable.

You can get more information on this site regarding the disadvantages of spreadsheets. We can also tell you more about the advantages of server application solutions.

What is work force management?

For organisations to ensure they provide the right service.  In order to do they need to assign the right employees with the right skills to the right job at the right time to meet demand.

Workforce Management Background

Workforce management (WFM) is a strategy used by companies to increase their efficiency and performance. It entails all activities aimed at maintaining a steady output, such as human resource management, forecasting, field service management, budgeting, scheduling, performance and training management, analytics, recruitment and data collection.

Workforce management utilizes a unique set of performance enhancing tools and software to bolster corporate management, workers, and other categories of managers and supervisors in the manufacturing team, distribution, transportation, and retail operators. This is sometimes called HRM systems, or part of ERP systems, or workforce asset management.

Unlike the conventional outlay that only needed staff scheduling to improve time management, workforce management is now all-inclusive and demand-oriented to optimize staff scheduling. Apart from focusing on demand-orientation and optimization, workforce management also incorporates:

  • Estimating the workload and resource utilisation
  • Job scheduling
  • Management of working times and accounts
  • Monitoring the process of workforce management

Each task should be clearly defined and performed efficiently based on set engineering standards and methods of optimizing each task as much as possible. Out of this framework and demand based forecasts, workers are scheduled and given tasks, performance measured, give feedback, and incentives computed and paid.

Workforce management is an entire scheme aimed at building the capacity of workers, increase productivity and client relations, and where possible reduce labour costs.

What is Mobile Workforce Management (MWM)

Mobile workforce management (MWM) is a software-based service used to oversee employees outside of the institution?s premises; MWM sometimes refers to the field teams. Mobile workforce management encompasses all activities done to monitor and schedule the field workforce.

The entire process includes procurement, management and using mobile devices, applications and computer software. Related support services like tracking, logging, dispatch, productivity management, and other types of communication are also to make it efficient.

Companies do not have the same needs and MWM firms need to fine-tune their software and devices to sufficiently bridge this gap. Some providers are suited only to a specific type of company because of specialization, like managing the electric grid. This experience makes the MWM company suited to provide applications that are relevant to the company for them to continue operating smoothly and efficiently.

With the increase in mobile devices, applications, secured wireless networks and virtual desktop, there comes a stream of opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and other ventures. Nevertheless, a mobile workforce needs better controls, security and support, as well as a functioning mobile workforce management strategy.

MMS (managed mobility services) is often used interchangeably with MWM, but they should not be confused. MWM is related to software and applications used by mobile and computer devices to manage on-field work while MMS focuses on enterprises, and is like a way of keeping in touch with the company, other employees, and linking the mobile while at work to servers and the database.

Benefits of Mobile Workforce Management

MWM allows the utilization of technology to drive productivity. Here are the top five advantages of MWM..

  1. Customer focused. The customer is the backbone of any business. The team needs to keep in touch with up-to-date information about every interaction. In the end, better client relation makes sure that the customer is always happy.
  2. Information has the power to build or destroy. A cloud-based system is easier to manage and can help with collection of data which is used to make business decisions. This can help cut costs, increase the workforce support, and identify areas where polishing needs to be done.
  3. Improved efficiency. Mobile workforce management is majorly used in taskforce allocation. If the company adopts a cloud-based work force management system, allocation is done automatically saving a lot of time.
  4. Increased revenue. Each business seeks to maximize the profit. With cloud-based mobile workforce management some operations like task management, data analysis, customer communication, reporting, and performance monitoring can be automated. This reduces the costs incurred for multiple applications and saves time.
  5. Ease of communication. Communication is vital. Constant communication with customers drives sales rates and everyone loves that. Quick communication will help customers solve their problems faster and get instant feedback.

Additional WFM benefits

 Other WFM benefits are:

  • Operations are made efficient as all complex processes are automated.
  • Employers learn more about worker engagement, productivity and attendance, allowing them to modify training, coaching and processes aimed at streamlining performance.
  • Automation and easy manipulation of data to improve HR, productivity and slash administrative costs.
  • It increases employee productivity by reducing absenteeism and late arrivals.
  • Boosts the morale of employees by encouraging transparency and facilitating manager-employee communication.
  • WFM analyzes market and schedule requirements to pick the right employee with the best set of skills for a certain task.

Companies which embrace workforce management and mobile workforce management have a higher operational efficiency. They have lower operational costs and limit manual work as much as possible

How to carry out an Operational Review

A mobile workforce management software is key to managing an efficient field workforce.? Managing a staff of people can be tricky in any industry. Try keeping track of employees on shifting jobsites, many whom are paid hourly or temporary workers. The added pressure of ensuring the right workers get to the right sites at the right times, but they also need to track hours, parts used, vehicles and equipment assets.

In a previous post, we defined what is an operational review and why they play a key process in the continual evolution of successful businesses.?

Operational reviews allow the organization members to evaluate their performance, according to the procedures, resources properly, timescales and budgets.

Denizon – Operational Reviews Defined

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In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how to implement an operational review and the steps typically undertaken to help you and your organisation to implement an operational review.

What the steps in a Operational Review Process

There are typically six steps in an operational review that range from preparatory work conducting interviews and collecting documents to the presentation of the final written report.

An audit should be customized to meet a organisatons specific needs, so standard steps can and should only serve as a guideline.? Management and internal and external auditors should adjust the process to address the company’s particular goals and objectives.

Initial Management Meeting

Understanding the problem is the first crucial step of an operational review. This is one of major areas of discussions when the audit team meets with the management, and department heads will be asked to identify any specific areas of concern. Once the problem is identified, it would be easier to come up with workable solutions.

Conduct Interviews

The next step in the evaluation is carried out with experienced teams doing interviews and keeping close observation. Each team essentially watches how employees carry out their responsibilities. This is considered a key part of the process.

When doing the interview, it is also vital that the observing team gains the employees? trust and confidence. Likewise, the staff must be assured that whatever transpires between the team and the employee will be kept confidential. Management must therefore guarantee anonymity to anyone who offers critical information, lest employees withhold vital information and render the data gathered inaccurate.

Systems Review

Employees and management practices will be reviewed by the assessing team according to the standard policies and guidelines of the company. The effectiveness of the controls in place as well as their appropriateness to the current operating conditions will also be evaluated.

Reporting

A documentation of the data gathered and the assessment of the evaluating team, will be submitted to the management after the review process. Flow charts and written narratives of departmental activities are usually part of this report. This is also where observations and recommendations of the team will be presented to the department heads concerned.

Review Results

While the operational review is being conducted, it is important to take into account the vital factors that affect the company: the people, processes, procedures, and strategies. These four factors can determine the company?s progress in the future.

Key Areas of focus in operation reviews

At a minimum an operational review should include the following key ares of assessment

Management Control

Responsibilities, authority, and the scope in which an employee has the freedom to act must be clearly defined and documented. A complete and specific job description for instance, would give the employee a clear perspective on how he acts and functions within the company.

Boundaries should be set not only to benefit the employer but more so the employee as well.

Moral and Ethical Guidelines

Moral and ethical guidelines are just as important to ensure for a smoother employer?employee relationship. Otherwise, personal issues such as work ethics, work attitude and personal values may post problems in the long run if such guidelines are not drawn properly before relationships are established.

Processes and procedures

Evaluating processes is only beneficial if the company itself updates its processes and procedural manuals regularly, or at least when needed. Such protocols may need revision and some steps may be obsolete already. Improving a company?s processes and procedures doesn’t always entail cost. In fact, improvised procedures may even be cost-effective and could make the processes more manageable.

Communication and reporting standards

Gaps in communication could result in serious lapses in internal controls, putting the company and/or its assets at risk. This is where the importance of timely and clear communication comes in. Likewise, reports must be useful, and the flow of information and how it is processed must keep pace with the company?s growth.

Information technology (IT) and security controls can also be included under the communication clause. Proper IT security policies must be in place, state-of-the-art protection techniques employed, and everything be documented, periodically updated, and continually monitored.

Strategic planning and tactics

No company can ever be complete without its strategies. It would unwise for any organization to proceed without first knowing where it stands and what direction it wants to take. Strategic planning draws such a map. It must be aligned to the mission and vision of the company, and should also coincide with the organizational goals set. Strategic planning deals with these three key questions:

  • What do we do now
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • How can we overcome competition

Without clear strategic direction, expectations would likely differ between ownership and management.

Contingency planning, testing and recovery

Contingency plans must be up-to-date, and are essential to the organization. If one course of action fails, the company should have plan B, C and so on. In addition, an organization should be prepared to respond to interference’s.

This includes establishing a formal process to review transactions processing during both disruption and recovery.

Presentation of Report

Based on your objectives and our findings, we will develop detailed recommendations to improve your company?s performance and productivity. Our written report will include a list of both short-term and long-term projected improvements and courses of action, to be mutually agreed upon by both parties.

To ensure the achievement of the improvements we outlined, our team will also assist in the implementation of these modifications.

The plan has three levels of recommendations: one for executives, another for management, and a third one for staff.

The executive summary concentrates on your company?s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to its entirety. It includes recommendations for any needed changes in policy or governance.

The management plan is based on employee feedback and includes areas of immediate improvement as well as identification of potential problem areas. Concerns from the bottom level management can now be forwarded to the top level management in formal writing. Better working relationships may evolve from this, thereby setting the work environment for a higher productivity ratio.

Lastly, the staff report deals with topics like charting the hierarchy of the organization, and discussing in detail specific control objectives that are critical to the company?s mission. Part of our goal is to encourage personnel to pay close attentions to such changes, if any, as these efforts are essential if they want to bring about both organizational and personal success.

If you would like to further discuss how our operational review services can benefit your company, please feel free to contact us at your convenience to schedule an initial consultation. We?ll be more than happy to assist you.

More Operational Review Blogs


Carrying out an Operational Review


Operational Reviews


Operational Efficiency Initiatives


Operational Review Defined

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 – IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 – UK

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