In January of 2020, the Department of Finance’s Treasury Tax Audit (DOF TRE Tax Audit) Team, led by Ken Martinez, noticed that their write-ups could take two to several hours […]
In January of 2020, the Department of Finance’s Treasury Tax Audit (DOF TRE Tax Audit) Team, led by Ken Martinez, noticed that their write-ups could take two to several hours to complete. Plus, there were many redundant steps in the process.
Furthermore, Auditors have high productivity rates and should be using those hours for more productive means.
Thus, through the Denver Peak Academy’s Lean methodology, they decided to go from 2-6 hours per audit write-up to one hour or less per audit write-up.
Through working meetings & sessions, Ken & the DOF TRE Tax Audit Team identified dozens of ideas.
For example, they hypothesized (via the If we…/Then we tool) that if they created write-up procedures & standards of work, then they could decrease the number of hands-on audit write-up items.
Their procedures weren’t perfect initially (& nothing ever is) but very promising, especially after they ironed out some challenges to ensure the standards & policies aligned with their strategic goals.
Moreover, the team decided to put all audit write-up documents in Gentax (the unit’s database for tax audit & compliance information) to have a central, non-duplicative repository for items.
Moreover, the team decided to research file saving in “Gentax” to establish a checklist for the process.
After six months of improvement, the team walked away with over $40K in soft-dollar savings, which allows the team to work on other tasks or strengthen the outputs/bandwidth & overall quality of the team’s audit writ-ups.
So what were some of the barriers to this innovation? They didn’t always use the most relevant Lean tool to analyze and group ideas, & some of the group didn’t want to use as many Lean tools as they did to improve the audit writ-up process.
Lastly, what went well? Meetings were well-attended, and participants provided great feedback. The team kept an open-mind for the majority of the project, submitted complete ideas freely & without fear, & the meeting environment was positive – psychologically safe.
Innovation isn’t always accessible, but you can accomplish more than you thought possible when you have a supportive team & psychologically safe environment. Innovate. Elevate. Repeat.
Jerraud Coleman is a creative, data-driven, focused, and positive Deputy Director for the City and County of Denver's Peak Academy.
For the past seven years, alongside an exceptional team of continuous improvement professionals, he helps direct, generate, and facilitate process improvement events throughout Denver, Colorado, and the nation.
He trains employees of government, non-profits, and other enterprises (nationally, abroad and at all levels) in the principles and methods of continuous improvement, performance, and change management tools like Lean, the Four Disciplines of Execution (Covey), & PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act/Adjust).
He also works at promoting and sharing the methods mentioned above via blogs, social media, workshops/improvement events, and conferences.
Jerraud believes that "sharing and talking about continuous improvement tools can help enterprises identify and sustain the elimination of any waste or pain point found within any process or system." Thus, resulting in happier customers, employees, and organizations.
Moreover, regarding his work with the City & County of Denver, Jerraud believes in "creating a world-class place where everybody matters matter," primarily through systems-thinking, more productive, valuable, and efficient processes.
Jerraud holds a BFA (in Integrated Arts) from the University of Colorado, Boulder, a Lean Black Belt certificate from Regis University, and a handful of certifications from Coursera in Data Science tools and methods.