Passion Ignited.

“You can’t manufacture passion or motivate people to feel passionate. You can only discover what ignites your passion and the passions of those around you” – Jim Collins Good to Great

I have to admit, I love reading business books, especially about leadership and serving others. This was something very new to me in 2009 before I read “Good to Great” and had Jim Collins take me (and the rest of the business world it seems) to school. My passion was ignited when I was finally able to move on from the Payroll Department and move into Construction Operations as a Project Cost Accountant. In this position, I was able to learn much about the financial side of a commercial construction project. I worked one on one with Project Managers and Project Engineers. As the Project Cost Accountant, I processed all costs for the project, making sure they were aligned with the budget and forwarded to the rest of the Project Team for approval. Included in my duties, were putting together subcontract agreements, procedures manuals, tracking equipment that was on site, and verifying that subcontractors had proper insurance in place in the event of a loss. These were the things that I had to do on a daily basis, but once a month, I had the opportunity to visit the construction site. I can remember it like yesterday. I stepped out of my vehicle, put on a hard hat and vest for the first time and looked out towards huge steel beams being erected for a new hospital and I came to a realization, that took me by surprise. A good (on its way to being great) construction company is making a profit yes, but it is still delivering critical elements to communities. I felt proud to be a part of something like that! It’s amazing that I can be a part of bringing churches, hospitals, educational facilities and the like to the community that I live in. How awesome is that?!

Career Kickoff: The Payroll Challenge

I began my career in Construction about 3 years ago in the
Payroll Department.  I was 19 years old and a Sophomore in college. Yes,
full time work, full time college. On my first week, I was trained on the processes and procedures, but most importantly, I was given a challenge.

Challenge: Change the processing time of weekly payroll from
5 days to 3

Strategic Advantage: Increase the capacity of the
Payroll Administrator to handle other Human Resource functions, adding to the efficiency, competitiveness, and profit of the firm.

Completion Time: 5 months

When I was first given the challenge, I thought it would
be easy, but I faced many roadblocks.

RoadBlock One: Time-sheets from construction sites came in consistently late and were received by the Payroll Department without management approval.

Solution: Have top level managers request that time-sheets
are submitted by the close of business every Monday morning. Having this person making the request, added to the seriousness of the matter. Construction Superintendents did not want to disappoint these guys – so all were compliant.
For the first time, the data required to begin the process was received on time and was organized – increasing efficiency. This gave me time to prepare to overcome the next roadblock.

Roadblock Two: All time-sheets had to be manually entered in the
Payroll system for about 200 employees. At the time, this process was taking two days. If I could shave time off of this – I would be ahead of the game!

Solution: After much research, I found a way to import recurring data. About 75/200 of the employees were salaried and their time was entered the same way every week. Within the software application, there was an ability to enter recurring transactions – so I put it to work. This simple streamlining tool, allowed to take one day off of the processing time.

Roadblock Three: Even though all of the data was entered one day early, management required many reports to be generated upon completion of the data entry. These reports had to be generated manually in the software.

Solution: After more research into the capabilities of the software, I discovered macros. The software allowed the generation of the reports to be recorded. So, I recorded all of the macros. Now, when the data
was entered, the macro would generate all of the reports almost instantly.

Now, the third day could be spent distributing the Payroll
– successfully completing the process in three business days. This allowed for
checks to be distributed one day early to the company. Now, instead of waiting until Friday, everyone can expect to receive their check on a Thursday.

In your software applications, conduct research and
employ every streamlining capability. Streamlining processes will quickly add
to your company’s bottom line, by increasing the efficiency of your workers and
adding to their individual capacity.