March Madness 2.0

March Madness 2.0

It’s that time of year again! March Madness is here, right in the middle of tax season. Two years ago, I wrote a blog about March Madness and compared it to “busy season” for accountants.

The similarities between basketball March Madness and accounting March Madness?

  • It’s highly anticipated every year
  • We know what’s expected of the players
  • Tensions can rise due to the intensity
  • The unexpected will likely happen, resulting in upsets

My previous blog goes on to mention that by implementing Lean Six Sigma in our firm, we’ve had fewer of the negative aspects like high tensions and untimely upsets. Since it’s been two years and Lean is all about #ContinuousImprovement, I thought you’d like an update on our progress. I’m happy to report that through our dedication to processes like Lean, this year our March Madness hasn’t been “mad” at all.

2017 vs. 2019

Over the last two years, we made a direct effort to start decreasing our overtime hours worked. Traditionally, in a public accounting firm, January through mid-April is grueling. When I was younger, a 60+ hour  week was typical for these months. But through Lean Six Sigma and firm-wide challenges by myself and the other shareholders, our overtime hours are down and our productivity is up.

We haven’t had a 60+ hour week of work for anyone in our firm this year! Seeing the continual success with reaching a lower OT goal year after year, we’ve started measuring new things. We’re looking at productivity, turnaround time, and other measures that ensure we’re continuing to provide the absolute best value to our clients and in the most efficient way possible.

Lean Six Sigma’s Role

We implemented Lean Six Sigma many years ago. Our goal was to change our processes to get client information in sooner, through our system faster, and to the client with the same excellent quality and accuracy hb&k has always provided. And it’s working!

We’re doing a great job hitting our new goals, and all with working less hours. This gives employees and myself more time to do the things we love outside of work. The success is, at least in part, due to our dedication to challenging the status quo and following our processes.

As a Lean Six Sigma Consultant, I am glad to see how having solid processes in place has allowed our firm to meet and exceed new challenges. Any size and type of company can benefit from Lean. Please reach out to me if you would like to know more.


This blog was written by Earl Blackmon.  Earl is a shareholder of hb&k and a Lean Six Sigma Consultant.
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