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No matter how well constructed a post-merger integration plan for the finance function might be, implementation can be derailed by numerous challenges. Accenture identifies three success factors critical to keep implementation on track, and help ensure that the merger or acquisition makes the expected contribution to the company’s drive to attain high performance.
This article forms part of Accenture’s three-part series, Integrating Finance After a Merger.
A sound M&A strategy typically includes Day One execution and the specifics of the future-state finance function. The strategy often includes key activities for the project teams and plans for staffing the resources needed to carry out the program.
However, even a well thought-out, carefully designed integration strategy may not deliver the targeted business outcomes if executives cannot implement it effectively. The path toward full integration presents numerous challenges that can derail the effort. For example, urgency to sustain short-term business-as-usual financial activities, including managing monthly, quarterly and year-end closes, can drain attention and resources away from important finance integration efforts.
When this happens, the integration program can lose momentum, jeopardizing planned milestones and timely deployment.
Accenture’s client experiences suggest that leaders of effective mergers and acquisitions carefully manage three stages of the finance post-merger integration process:
Planning. They thoughtfully plan the integration of the two finance functions.
Resources. They actively strive to secure and align finance resources during and after a merger.
Implementation. They develop a disciplined and long-term plan for the implementation of their strategy for integrating the finance functions.
This paper deals with the success factors relating to the third step. Planning and Resources are covered in companion articles.
Finance executives typically master the implementation stage by focusing on three critical success factors:
Set and manage milestones. Successful integration of two previously separate finance functions can hinge on the ability to effectively establish and meet a set of milestones. Organizations stand a better chance of meeting milestones if they make them achievable and spread them across several workstreams within the finance integration program.
Partner with IT. Many Day One and future-state finance integration solutions require complex enhancements to a company’s existing IT systems.
Build momentum for further transformation of finance. A successfully executed merger can provide the momentum for bolder transformations of the newly integrated company’s finance function—transformations may generate valuable new gains in efficiency and effectiveness.
Jeff East is a senior manager in the Accenture Finance and Enterprise Performance group based in Atlanta, Georgia. He specializes in post-merger integration and finance strategy. He is a Certified Public Accountant and has more than 20 years of experience in M&A advisory, strategy, merger integration and finance and accounting operations.
Oksana Kukurudza is a senior executive in the Accenture Finance and Enterprise Performance group based in New York. She is the global lead of the Accenture Finance Post-Merger Integration Offering and North America lead of the Finance Strategy Offering. Over the last 18 years, she has focused on supporting the integration and transformation of companies’ finance organization, processes and capabilities to operate more effectively at lower cost.
Johnny Lo is a manager in the Accenture Finance and Enterprise Performance practice based in Washington, D.C. His experience has focused on the implementation of finance post-merger integration and transformation programs, in which he has helped to enhance finance and accounting operations through process design and organizational strategy.
October 12, 2012
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