The improvement technics and tools of accounting processes

Posted on:Apr 27,2023


The accounting is the part of the companies’ administrative processes what influences the total production and service flow. The most common wastes are related to the administrative processes and they have a direct relationship with the output. In the practice the administrative and accounting processes are “invisible” and from this reason their improvement is difficult.

In our research we analyze the possible process improvement tools and methods what can be used in office, like Lean-Kaizen, Value Stream Mapping and Design etc.

We study the accounting flow and we do calculations to show the effect of process improvement methods. We create a practical process improvement model for accounting system.

The resources used in the administrative processes mainly are non-reusable and non-recyclable. The decreasing of the used resources by process improvement tools serves sustainability purposes beside the financial impact. In the future the cost approach is not enough for long time business.


One of the keys to economic success is the accuracy and speed of data available for decision-making. Integrated management systems allow for the rapid data-flow, but the accuracy and reliability of the data is a fundamental requirement for the information users. For any kind of company there is a common source of information in all business and that is the accounting itself. Accounting measures and records the economic transactions and the recorded data can be used as a database for business decisions. Depending on the form or size of the enterprise the accounting systems have different characteristics, depending on the information expected by the decision-makers. According to the classical accounting concept, accounting processes are defined by the business activity, but it is not all the same. There is a difference between businesses how quickly and accurately the accounting system can provide the economic data that characterize the business processes. As we have mentioned, in many cases the accounting system is operated with less concern regarding the efficiency of the accounting system within the organization rather than for the accounting standards.
One of the possibilities and tools for efficient and cost-effective operations can be the quality improvement methods. Quality improvement methods are used to ensure the process (production, service, administration, etc.) to carry out more quickly, without wastes as possible and with higher quality. The quality improvement methods can reduce the inputs, and very often the process or production time. Their main effect is the increasing the customer satisfaction.
Our research focus is on the accounting work process. The importance of the research is also underlined by the fact that the administrative employees in the total workforce are 8-10%. Another importance of the research is the sustainability effect of lean development in accounting processes using less resources in a shorter leadtime.
The research questions are the next:
– whether quality improvement methods can be used to optimize accounting – administrative – processes?
– which quality improvement tools and methods can be used to produce reliable and quick accounting data?
Research goals are:
– to examine and validate the use of quality improvement tools and methods in accounting – administrative – processes
– to identify the tools that will enable accounting systems to be run more efficiently.
We emphasize that the correlations identified are relevant for enterprises of all sizes and will also provide results that can be used by accounting services companies as well.
Literature review
The accounting processes and digitalization
The accounting system measures the business activity, records the business transactions, processes the data into reports, communicates the data to decision makers, presents information in monetary terms and provides economic information for the information users (management, owners, investors, creditors, business partners, government etc.).
The development of accounting is determined by the economic circumstances, the data recording systems and the information needs. The traditional categorization of accounting is the financial and managerial (management) accounting. There are special accounting systems (e.g. forensic accounting, human resource accounting, lean-kaizen accounting, sustainability accounting, green accounting) as well and they provide special information for the information users.
A certain logic and rules must be followed in the accounting data recording system. In all accounting systems the processes shown in Figure 1 but the internal content and further detail of the three main processes are determined by the information needs.
A common feature at first of all accounting activities to identify the economic process itself. It must be able to decide that an event is the part of the accounting data recording system or not. The recording of an economic transaction in the accounting system can be done by different techniques and tools. After the transaction is entered in the system, the accounts are prepared and at the end of the period can be prepared the financial reports.
The way and process of recording economic transactions depends on the accounting system used. In case of financial accounting, data are recorded in general ledger and analytical accounts. The types of general ledger accounts and forms are decided by the purpose of the accounting system. In some accounting systems the form of the reports is compulsory (Hungary) and for others it is not (International Accounting Standards – International Financial Reporting Standards – IFRS). Special accounting systems are characterized by their own specificity. In the case of special accounting systems, the basis of the reports are recommendations by different organization (e.g. Sustainability Accounting Standards Board – SASB) but they may also be prepared without regulators and without recommendations (e.g. lean accounting, forensic accounting, management accounting).
Some elements of accounting processes can be automated or even digitized depending on the size, age, quality of the available workforce and external expectations of the business (Ghorbani, 2019). Recording the primary data in an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can greatly facilitate and shorten the accounting and reporting process. In many cases the accounting and finance modules are the first areas to be implemented in ERP systems. Looking to the future, cloud-based operations will be prevalent for ERP systems.
In Hungary, according to a representative survey of SMEs conducted by Digiméter in 2021 (n:757), 86% of businesses use digital invoicing systems and 63% use accounting/financial software, with larger businesses being the leading users (Digiméter, 2021). Interesting fact is that the number of companies using ERP systems has decreased compared to the previous year, but the number of companies using data collection for decision making is 74% (Digiméter, 2021)
The results of survey focused on the changes caused by the coronavirus were published in 2022 (Digiméter, 2022). According to the same representative survey of SMEs (n:200), 22% of SMEs increased their spending on digital finance. What is worrying is that 77% of businesses take their basic receipts to accountants in person and only 23% send them digitally.
In 2021, a survey performed by KPMG – Germany, Austria and Switzerland (n:350) – shows that digitization of accounting is taking place at different speeds in these countries, with the key objective of improving the quality of basic data and the adoption of a paperless system. In terms of invoice management, the share of digital invoices is 52-54%. The preparation of non-financial accounts is a problem because there is no standardized system and the quality of basic data is questionable (KPMG, 2021).
Several studies have been published on digitization. One of the largest scale research and simulations was conducted in 2013 (Fery & Osborne, 2013). At the time of the research, the primary question was how jobs would change with the adoption of computing. The research covered the United States and examined 702 occupations. It is important to note, however, that the study assumes that the more computerized the occupation, the more jobs will disappear. Based on the authors’ findings, accounting auditing can be digitized in 98%, payroll and bank front-office services also produced a result of over 95%.
Quality improvement
Our research focuses on the accounting and therefore the following quality improvement tools and methods applicable to accounting systems are presented in the order in which they were selected based on the methodology and tools of the research was conducted.
The quality improvement is originated from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Many people attribute the key to Toyota’s success to the effectiveness of the TPS system, but TPS is „only” a part of the overall process in the customer-to-customer cycle. Starting from TPS, a total management system has been developed, called the Total Management System (TMS). The elements of TMS are in Table 1. The yellow part is the accounting and finance system.
Lean is a philosophy that shortens the lead time between a customer order and the delivery of a product or service by eliminating all forms of waste (Tarantino, 2022). Lean manufacturing allows companies to reduce costs, cycle times and unnecessary wasteful activities, resulting in a more competitive, flexible and responsive company. A summary of the Lean system is in Figure 2. Lean decreases the time between a customer order and money received (payment). The elements and tools of TPS and Lean systems are used to increase the efficiency of a wide range of manufacturing and service activities, such as in the automotive industry (El-Khalil, 2018), food industry (Putri & Dona, 2019), pharmaceutical industry (Muiambo, Joao, & Navas, 2022), in services, healthcare (Rees & Gauld, 2017), IT (Torri, Kundu, Frecassetti, & Rossini, 2021), administration (Vidodo, Astandi, Ai, & Samdhi, 2020), and banking processes, among others (Allen, Panagoulis, & White, 2020).
To achieve Lean goals, 5 Lean principles must be followed in a consequent order (Womack & Jones, 2003) from 1st principle to 5th (Figure 2). For the goals and enforce the principles, we need a number of elements. To identify value and we need to know the customer and the customer’s needs. We need to know the time necessary and sufficient to meet the customer demand. To optimize we need to know the numerical data (value and physical) of the activities so we can design the right processes and avoid outliers. With Lean, we can prevent the errors and create a transparent system that allows the company to operate efficiently exactly at the point of value creation. The most important element of the Lean philosophy – as with all quality improvement methods and tools – is the involvement of employees at all levels.
The 7 main wastes and the wastes in administrative processes
Wastes are defined by Toyota by a simple way. Those activities that uses any kind of resources and transforms material and/or information in that way that the customer is willing to pay for, is called value added (VA) activities. All other are called waste as non-value added activities (NVA). Toyota identified 7 main waste (MUDA) that exists in any kind of business process (Table2).
To understand the real meaning of the 7 main wastes has high importance in process development. In this way the team will be able to decide to conform these criteria on the gemba (the location of value creation, the location of problems as well, as the location of factual matters and all kinds of authentic information sources) what is the process really from lean point of view.
The characteristics of the 7 main wastes have been described above. In the following, we will further elaborate on the types of wastes and focus on the wastes in office processes and their causes. The 7 main wastes identified by Taiichi Ohno (Taiichi, 2005) and in office or administrative processes are extended by 28 additional wastes due to the special nature of the information activity (Table 3) which are due to human factors (7pcs.), psychological factors (2pcs.), information wastes (12pcs.), and other factors (7pcs).
According to Taiichi Ohno, the 7 main wastes were determined on experience in Toyota’s production system and are generated by processes of manufacturing companies. In the production processes the production goal for the customers are reached by transforming all necessary materials but in administrative or office work the subject of transformation is the information itself. As the company’s processes became more complex, the administrative processes also are expanded. In the case of wastes in administrative systems, since they involve a greater amount of people and the difficulties arising from human resources must be considered (Gáspár, Vafaei, Garai-Fodor, & Almádi, 2017). Technical progress implies the automation and IT support of administrative processes so for these reasons the recording and retrieval of information and its communication and interpretation is also a source of high risk.
The 5S – The development of the effective work environment
In 1827, Charles A. Goodrich, an American writer and Congregational minister popularized the motto, “a place for everything and everything in its place”. When he wrote and published an article call “Neatness”. After the WWII Japan was eager to learn from American experts. Now 5S is known worldwide and is rooted from Japan. In 1950 a team from Toyota visited Ford to learn productivity development. Toyota produced around 40 automobiles per day while Ford did 8,000 a day. Toyota decided to adopt American automobile mass production methods with a few changes. A Toyota team was trained at Ford. In 1956 Taiichi Ohno, the company’s chief engineer visited Ford and the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain. Based on those observations began the development of Toyota Production System, which eventually led to the formation of the 5S practice. Japan adapted CANDO as 5S which stands for five Japanese words that begin with the letter S: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke. 5S was in practice before it was published in 1973 by Productivity Press. 5S is the structural way to develop and maintain high quality workplace and only in a clear workplace can be produces high quality products (Table 4).
Implementing 5S is the basis for KAIZEN by creating a visual workplace where abnormalities can be easily detected. Advantages of implementing 5S are short and long term effect (Osada, 1991):
– reduce search time
– reduce mistakes
– reduce distances
– reduce human effort
– make comfortable the work
– rise problem awarness
– improved employee attitudes and morale
– help the management to make quick decision konform the actualsituation
– make cleaan and healthy the workplce
– make visual
– make easy to implement visual control
– optimizing productivity
– maintaining an orderly workplace
– segregating necessary and unnecessary
– very simple to understand
– create clean and pleasant environment
– creates an organised workplace
– employees love to work
– self discipline
– they need to maintain the standards
– identify and eliminate wastes
– 5s would bring a lot of wastes to the surface
– employees can start reducing the wastes and improve the productivity
– create more space
– identify abnormalitiesand can be identified easily and fixed immediately
– identify issues in the flow of the materials and information
– improvement in safety by reducing accidents caused by slippery floors and creating visual indicators
– improves uptime by following daily cleaning and fixing the abnormalities
– improves quality: by making the workplace visible and clean
It is always recommended by experts to start the physical change in office process development with the 5S implementation in a well preparedand organized way. The selection (1S) , decision of the unnecessary items and information is critical for a team. During (2S) process also the consent of the team in the office layout, tools, equipment, informamtion boards and their arrangement is the key for a high quality effective workplace and morale. 5S require also visualization methods to be developed and agreed by team organizing documentation and the flow when someone use a common document. Vizualization of the processing data in accounting is vital regarding mandatory governamental deadlines as well. 5S implemetation is required in the IT support of the office. There must to establish orders and rules among the folders on the network to reach in the shortest time the required information by the accounting service providers. Also vizuialization include the daily office organization and management of processes, as the skill matrix, calendars, vizualization for office equipment and stocks, opeation of technical equipment and so on. The inventory of office consumables vizualization or using kanban orders decrease cost, too. The kanban (vizual card or electronical sign) controls that purchases are made at the most optimal cost and just in time. Overstocking can be eliminated.
A well organized healthy workplace require clean environment. The 3S (cleaning and checking) – actions draw our attention to details. During 3S everyone has to participate and also 3S standards must to be set. 3S also includes cleaning the e-mails and folders from junk documents and all among the informatical system, too.
4S standards has to be set to keep all development on top, and for the newcommers is the easiest way to explain the rules that leads for process productivity. The 5S standards are rules for everyone it must be followed until the next standard will be developed. Only stable processes have stable output and therefore require 5S implementation to reduce office wastes. If regular 5S audits (5S) are performed the office will be always organized to the required quality level. Also 5S level is that give for the customer the first impression when visits the service provider. The 5S is the front room of kaizen activities.
The Japanes concept for continuous small improvement in a company where every employee has idea to improve the productivity. The bottom line is that there is always something in the company’s processes that can be improved. “Kaizen is everyone’s responsibility” (Imai, 1986). If we can find the bottleneck and improve it, we can contribute to improving our business. We can talk about kaizen when we make changes to a stable process. Kaizen is a small investment to improve an existing process by making a number of small changes. For example: moving two machines or tables closer together to eliminate material or information movement wastes, bringing printers closer to users. Kaizen is customer- and process-oriented, involves people continuously in small steps, in all areas, by everyone, every day. The Figure 3 shows the effect of Kaizen improvements. It is the gradual continuous small improvement efforts done by people in time sequence at low cost. Where thers is no Kaizen this groth is missing from oweall performace.
Competitiveness is in the hands of the company in the Kaizen proposal system with structured solution responses, which are born from the identification of unknown problems present in our processes and burdensome. Kaizen enables the company to continually meet growing and increasingly complex customer needs and to improve its financial results in the long term. Competitiveness can sometimes be achieved by marginal cost differences for a company obtained through Kaizen.
The value stream mapping – VSM
One of the basic goals of the quality improvement is to eliminate defects in a company or the wasteful processes. Wastes do not create added value, reduce the company’s profit and generate costs. VSM is a tool for identifying value-added (VA) and non-value-added processes. First is to identify the current (actual) state of the processes that has to be improved. The current state is visualized in Value Stream Map (VSM). VSM is a visual development tool of all business processes and their links. VSM aims to identify bottlenecks in production and administrative processes as well. The VSM groups and quantifies the value-generating steps and non-value-added processes and shows their proportions. The VSM provides quantified data for quality improvement actions and decision making.
A present alue state map visualizes current processes to identify productivity and quality improvement activities that increase company performance and/or profits. The Future State Map reflects the improved processes and the optimum state by the given circumstances. The basic logic in preparing the VSM is that the processes and relationships are assessed upstream. It should be mentioned for administrative processes: the VSM does not follow the classical sequence. When evaluating the flows and connections each element has a specific sign / icon / color (Figure4). These icons should be prepared in advance and everyone should use the same one. For example, a truck indicates transportation, a triangle indicates material, a thick arrow indicates product flow, a rectangle indicates measured data, a thin arrow indicates information flow, glasses indicate something to be looked at, an envelope indicates, for example, distribution of mail (Rother & Shook , 2012). If the symbols are uniform, the map prepared is clear for everyone.
Of course there are other process mapping tools and techniques like: flowchart, tree diagram, Kawakita Jiro diagram, Design Structure Matrix (DSM), Multi Domain Matrix (MDM), Mindmap, Matrix Diagram, PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) etc. Each of the process mapping tools has its place and role in enterprise practice. VSM has the advantage over the mentioned tools and methods: it includes measurable real “live” data and information collected from gemba.
Research methodology
Accounting (administrative) Lean management typically must deal with three types of management challenges (Figure 5).
In accounting, the physical transformation itself is the process of interpreting incoming documents/information, connecting them to the business process, and then recording them in the right place so that information that can be used by decision-makers can be ­generated from the available data. In the case of information ­management, identifying the origin of the data, communicating the new process to the stakeholders when changes occur, and determining outgoing information (authorizations) based on information needs. In all processes where humans are working are not perfect. In order to ensure that the process works with as few errors as possible, ambiguous situations that arise need to be addressed.
The processes of these three management tasks must be measured, understood, problems identified, solved and improved. We have to find the relationships that primarily affect costs, service quality and delivery times.
An interesting anomaly between the production and administration processes is that very often the final output of a company is not due to the failure of the produced product or the service process, but due to accounting or administrative shortcomings. For example: a product manufactured on a Friday evening cannot be delivered that week because there is no administrative staff to issue an invoice with the delivery note, or they cannot administer the stock (no competent staff on site), no IT or engineering staff on duty or missing knowledge. In this case, the management is trying in vain to reduce time wastes in production, looking in vain for ways to reduce operations cycle times by seconds in order to get the product / service itself ready for the customer as quickly as possible. In turn, the overall lead time of the company expands because administrative processes lead to wastes (waiting time etc.) and finally this can lead to a loss of competitiveness and customer too.
The basic concept of the study is the Lean management approach. The Lean management approach in the accounting and administrative processes were developed in 8 main steps (Table 5).
Data collection
The process improvement activity focused on the accounts payable registration in the accounting system from the first registration of payable based on the invoice data till the payment.
During the implementation of the development, data were collected in two ways:
1. Quantitative data collection: individual data collection based on a data collection standard – workers record their 40-hour workweek and record their process wastes. Data collection is done twice: before and after development. Data collection for the process under review was completed by 54 persons (The total employees of the company was 62). In the test phase of data collection standard, we collected data from 17 employees.
2. Quantitative and qualitative data collection: on-site personal data collection on the process – video recording and VSM analysis.
The quantitative data collection makes it possible to assess the amount of time that is not valuable for the process. Non-valuable time is an additional cost to the business and diverts resources away from alternative revenue opportunities.
The quantitative and qualitative data collection involves a quantification of the physical processes. The source of the information to be analyzed is a video recording of a process (process steps), which can be (re)viewed to capture the data to be measured with high precision. In parallel to the video recording, a manual record of the observed conditions was also made. Quantitative measurement involves recording time, distance and material use (it should be noted that accounting processes are characterized by very low material use). Time was used as the basis for the calculations and performance was assigned to it. The qualitative assessment means monitoring whether the result of a given process steps meets the requirements of the output or not.
The administrative processes are „invisible”, such as accounting processes too, and it causes difficulties in the improvements. When you look into an office, you can see that everyone is working, but it is difficult or impossible to see how efficiently and with what results. It is even harder to see how many process steps are involved in a given activity.
The individual data collection is based on an issued data collection standard survey, where employees independently take a working day record of their daily activities and process wastes that occur during their 40-hour working week. The data collection took 4 weeks. The identified 10 office wastes are the next:
1. Meeting
2. Search
3. Follow up
4. Waiting for
5. Disruptions
6. Repairs
7. Sorting
8. Tracking
9. Clarification
10. Movement, transportation
As shown in Figure 6 for a week is accumulated 322 hour time loss by the 17 members in the pilot project. In total 54 persons were involved in the survey. The waste time varied between 280-335 hours/week. Decisions can be supported by using Pareto diagram. By „costing” the wastes the wastes elimination can be sorted.
Several processes were analyzed during the development by VSM. We highlight in some examples to show the efficiency of using lean tools in the accounting system daily operation. Process sequence of VSM analysis in case of the accounts payable was selected to reduce the Lead Time for handling problems as quick as possible. The present state analysis (Value Stream Analysis – VSA) shows that the process before development, takes 16 minutes 37 seconds and within 82 process step activities. The present state is divided into value-added (VA) and non-value-added (NVA) activities as follows Figure 7.
Figure 7 clearly shows that the waiting time – 43.33% – is the longest time in the whole process, the activities performed (they are necessary) 39.02%, and the changeover 13.24%. They need to be changed or reduced.
Figure 8 shows that only 4.41% of activity is VA and 95.59% is NVA (waste and business non value added) based on time ratio during the lead-time 16:37 (m:s).
Moving from the present to the future state is possible by examining the process step by step. The Value Stream Analysis (VSA) is in time dimensions of seconds, because the takt-time is calculated in seconds. The decision is based on the added value and the ECRS priority. ECRS means eliminating any unnecessary activity. Elimination gives the best result, because there is no overhead and no time involved in eliminating a step. Next in the analysis phase can be the ECRS and their combination. The analysis of the current situation has revealed the following main problems:
1. lack of coordination of integrated systems
2. limited server capacity
3. lack of IT licenses
4. differences in the versions of the invoice recognition software used
5. Hungarian accented characters cannot be handled by the invoice recognition software
6. incompatibility between interfaces
7. the size of the windows that open is small and requires enlargement
8. lack of knowledge
9. human error
10. process errors
11. computational errors
12. international local value problems the role of periods and commas in number division
13. inexperience in international accounting
14. lack of knowledge of Excel
15. incorrect currency selection in drop-down menu
16. rework
17. search loss
18. lack of FIFO (deadline) in scheduling tasks
19. lack of experience of how long it takes to complete a task
20. constant disruption of a senior (paid) colleague due to missing information
21. interruption, waiting for question/answer
22. having to scroll left and right between 14 pages (screens) to access data
23. documents cannot be attached to the system from email, so backup is required before attaching
24. attachments are handled in several steps (copy, save, reopen…)
25. digitized data is manually imported
26. there is no full-proof system for data verification
27. faulty physical equipment
28. layout – movement
Overall, the biggest problem is the lack of problem awareness, which is compensated by rework, but rework hinders meeting deadlines, and it causes a decrease in customer satisfaction. It can be concluded that the accounting process/steps wastes examined fit into the 35 categories of office/administrative wastes. In the table below (Table 6), the items highlighted in yellow are the categorization of the case study wastes.
The future state is already the developed state, which is developed by Value Stream Design (VSD). It is developed by analyzing the process steps and removing the unnecessary processes from the current state map and adjusting everything to the new condition.
Before the development, all processes consisted of 82 steps. Using ECRS methodology it can be demonstrated that by same number of employees, Lean methodologies and knowledge applied in accounting processes, they can significantly improve their service and reduce the lead time of accounting processes, solving significant quality and cost problems. The results of the development are shown in Figure 9. The original process of 16:37 (m:s) was reduced to 3 minutes 56 seconds after the analysis of the state map and the application of Lean tools, resulting in a 76.33% improvement in time. The 76% improvement was achieved in 3 improvement steps.
Considering the ECRS methodology, 66 steps were eliminated and 1 step was combined (linked to another process) with 3 iterations of development. In terms of time, the 66 steps (E) resulted in a time reduction of 12:41 and the combination of 1 step (C) resulted in a time reduction of 5 seconds in the process. The VSD result the steps of the developed new process (future state) consist of 17 steps, 65 unnecessary steps were removed (Figure 10).
The situation before and after development can be compared in Table 7.
As it can be seen in Table 7, the value added in relation to the total process time doubled, the waiting time increased proportionally, the workflows performed decreased by 16% and the rate of changeover increased by 2% within the process.
It remains the case that waiting is the longest time within the process, while the time spent on activities has decreased by significantly 324 seconds, similar to the waiting time 310 seconds.
After the improvement was implemented, when all employees were using the improved processes, the individual data collection was repeated. The same losses had to be recorded for one working week. The results of the repeated survey are in Figure 11.
Figure 11 shows that there has been a significant reduction in losses after the development. The total wastes of the 17 workers before the development was 322 hours per week, which was reduced to 99 hours by the development. In case of other 37 employees survey the total waste was 1029.6 hours/week. After the development the waste time was reduced to 290 hours that means 72% of improvement.
The amount of work process that can be performed in one working day (7.5 working hours) is as shown in Table 8, the number of processes that can be performed per 1 working day after the improvement also increases by 76%.
The costs of process were calculated before and after the development. The related costs can be divided into two types from the management accounting perspective: variable and fixed costs. For 250 working days per year (7.5 hours/day), the system can handle 21,831 more processes, the same number of cases is handled, the annual variable cost savings is 19,362 thousand HUF. Of course, this value is true if there is no variability in the process in the future. In any case, for a workflow of almost 4 minutes, the amount is huge.
By our research it was clearly proven that the Lean approach can also be applied in accounting processes. The systematic use of quality improvement tools clearly supports the success of accounting and office processes despite the fact that the operation of accounting systems is often determined by strict rules. At the same time, in the case of developments, these strict rules create the framework and boundaries.
During the investigation, a specific quality development tool system was defined. The success and effectiveness of the process development carried out in accounting systems also depends on the level of the state before the development or what is the starting point.
By using the accounting cycle time and accounting takt-time it was possible to point out the right processes to improve. Based on the relationship between the accounting cycle time and the accounting takt-time it is possible to determine how many accountants should work on a given process and the professional bottlenecks of human resources.
Calculations have shown that after accounting process improvements, the reduction in the variable cost of the process is directly proportional to the reduction in the accounting cycle time. For production processes, the same relationship cannot be established due to the row material inputs of production.
This study proved that in the case of accounting processes, the rate of time savings induces the variable cost savings. The relationship between the variable cost decreasing directly proportional to the reducing of the process time.
To know the accounting value stream can help in the development of the motivation system and supports the quality development of accounting services.
Based on the Resource Productivity key indicator (Almunia, 2005) of the Sustainable Production and Consumption topic area named in the European Union’s Sustainable Development Strategy. By reducing the variable costs of accounting process development and resource consumption (machinery, energy), quality improvement tools support directly the sustainability goals.
The future research topics: development of indicator systems suitable for measuring the efficiency of accounting processes, measuring the impact of quality improvement tools – what is the time period after which the improvements must be repeated, analyze the economic impact of reducing used resources on sustainability.
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Dr. Anita Tangl
Associate professor
Budapest Business School, Faculty of Commerce, Hospitality and Tourism, Department of Methodology for Business Analysis, Hungary

Dr. Gyula Vörös
College associate professor
Budapest Business School, Faculty of Commerce, Hospitality and Tourism, Department of Methodology for Business Analysis, Hungary

Dr. Józsefné Zelenka
Professor of practice
Budapest Business School, Faculty of Commerce, Hospitality and Tourism, Department of Methodology for Business Analysis, Hungary

Goshu Desalegn PhD student
Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Doctoral School of Economics and Regional Sciences, Hungary

István Vajna
senior lean consultant, Vajna VSM Kft