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Accenture chevron Smart

is not just about the numbers

Get the cost transformation mindset right and the figures follow.


Despite the rise of corporate cost transformation programs like zero-based budgeting, just 36 percent of senior executives report sustainable benefits from them.

What does this 36 percent do that others do not? We believe they create a smart spending mindset.

Leaders who know how to instill the right mindset, and make their people partners in reinventing their company, tend to see better results.



Lip service compromises the end goal. Employees’ feelings, dismissed as having little bearing on the bottom line, can determine the fate of a major transformation. Accenture Strategy analysis of nearly one million employees at more than 150 organizations indicates high levels of passion and drive can increase benefits realization by 50 percent. High levels of fear and frustration can result in a more than a 20 percent decline.

Using human nature to your advantage works. From giving people a portion of the savings they identify, to creating forums where they can share ideas and successes, to highlighting champions of the cause, behavioral science shows us that people want to make a difference and be recognized for it.

Treating employees as partners spurs innovation. Accenture helped a large company reap 3,000+ employee-generated smart spending ideas. Using the same digital platform Lego and Starbucks use to crowdsource ideas with consumers, it generated US$1.5 million in savings opportunities.


Mastering mindset, while not a quick fix, is an essential building block to the success of any smart spending program.

A few things you can do to begin:

Prove a partnership

Prove a partnership

Tie your company's progress directly to employee ideas. Remember that high levels of passion and drive can increase benefits realization by 50 percent.

Create intrinsic appeal

Create intrinsic appeal

Use behavioral science principles to motivate smart spending behavior. Emphasize the positive, make opportunities relatable and appeal to social proof to reinforce the adoption of new norms.

Democratize with digital

Democratize with digital

Leverage social, analytic and collaboration tools to engage employees across the organization.