The MJE Process and Using the Concept of a SIPOC Diagram
By Clinton Jones on November 11, 2015
If you’re part of the month end close process, you likely scratch your head every month, wondering what other people in your organization were thinking when they made certain Manual Journal Entry (MJE) requests.
While it is easy to think that the MJE process is a relatively homogeneous one, what we have determined over the years in the use of Winshuttle for the manual journal entry process in SAP, is that very few businesses have a consistent way for justifying the MJE and very few actually have a generic approach to the way they use SAP.
The exact same determination was recently made with a so-called “Big5” customer who needed to develop a plan for a high-performance, future-state MJE process in the professional services industry.
Key components were data in Excel, a “minimal number of steps” approach to data entry and a facile and high performance data collection, validation and posting process.
The business needed to identify, document and convey the business needs in order to adjust the solution to meet the requirements and expectations of the audience, in the face of a legacy experience and new system implementation of SAP.
Several models or tools could have been used to gather requirements, but in retrospect, a SIPOC (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers) or COPIS diagram derived from the Six Sigma methodology could have been utilized to draw early conclusions and requirements.
A SIPOC diagram is usually used in the ‘Define’ phase of a Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) project to identify process outputs and the customers receiving those outputs.
Once customers are identified, the ‘voice-of-the-customer’ data is gathered and requirements are established.
SIPOC diagrams help in scope by providing a high-level view of workflows, and ensure a unified view and understanding of the requirements.
A SIPOC diagram is also useful in the Measure phase, and aligns process mapping and identifying ‘in/out of scope’ tools with additional details.
The SIPOC definition is valuable when there is lack of clarity around:
- Who ‘supplies’ process inputs
- The specifications of inputs
- The true customers of the process
- The requirements of the customers or beneficiaries
In the MJE process, Suppliers may be in finance or an even wider audience. An example of one Winshuttle customer’s suppliers are factor vendors who provide invoices for payment.
Inputs would be the specifics of documents, information, paperwork, justifications etc.
In the Process, analysis part of the SIPOC, the question of what needs to happen, how long they should take and how they augment the end result or enrich the quality of the data, may arise. In the absence of Winshuttle’s Lean Data Management platform, we find that many customers don’t consider the process thoroughly and forfeit some benefits that could be gained from a deeper analysis.
Outputs quite naturally are posted documents in SAP, however there may be other outputs such as payments, accelerated reporting or a faster close.
The Customers are clearly in corporate or operational finance, but there may be others.
About the author
Clinton Jones is a Director for Finance Solutions Management at Winshuttle where he has worked since 2009. He is internationally experienced having worked on finance technologies and business process with a particular focus on integrated business solutions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Clinton serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance for finance organizations globally. Prior to Winshuttle he served as a Technical Quality Manager at SAP and with Microsoft in their Global Foundation Services group.
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