Best practice?

Best practice has never been more important in an age of accelerating technology, globalisation and rapidly changing economy. Almost every business has a best practice guide in order to reduce errors, outperform competition or achieve better financial outcomes. The organisation that I work for has a very top-down approach to strategic management, so when most placement students start their new jobs they pretty much pick up the processes as they were left by their predecessor.

But for someone who is always curious, that wasn’t the case for me.

As soon as I had completed my training I began to look at ways to add extra value to the work I was doing. There were certain areas that showed signs of long term bottleneck and it was the age old case of “we’ll sort it out at some point”. So I began a process redesign by asking just the one question- why?

By identifying the problem and then working backwards I was able to see why certain problems kept re-occurring. I suggested a meeting with key stakeholders and managers- with their input I would try to bring my redesign together, thankfully it was warmly received!

The result was a fresh new database and work process that was introduced to the procurement department, which made paying invoices timelier, reduced risk of errors, eliminated duplicate payments and was also user friendly which meant more of the non-finance staff could use it!

As a direct result of this change, over a period of 4 months I was also able to make a saving of 7k for my department. Which isn’t too bad considering that wasn’t my objective to begin with!

Being a placement student means you’re looking at things with a “fresh pair of eyes” as one of my colleagues likes to put it. It’s a great time to apply the new skills you’ve learnt at university and make a bit of a difference to the organisation you’re working for. I regularly spend lunchtimes sat with my placement counterpart, discussing how we could make things work quicker, or manipulate data to make analysis easier, or even swapping tips on how to improve our work.

Almost like being back at university…


On placement with NHS finance department