Lean Accounting: Convincing the Skeptic

Presented By:

Gerald DeBusk

Session Abstract:

As Lean Accountants, we know that traditional accounting systems do not support the objectives of organizations on a Lean journey. We also know the even worse truth that traditional accounting systems often reward behavior in conflict with the Lean philosophy. Lean Accounting and its associated performance measures support Lean. But, how do we convince those in our organizations who may be skeptical?

When teaching a semester-long course dedicated to Lean Accounting, I have the luxury of time to make my case. However, when teaching a two to four-hour module on Lean Accounting in a regular managerial accounting course or a one to two-hour CPE session, I need to grab the audience’s attention more quickly. Over the years, I have worked on a simple, easy-to-run simulation that quickly gains the audience’s attention and provides a platform for making several points about accounting and performance measurement. In this session, you will learn how to use this simulation to quickly demonstrate both the power of Lean and Lean Accounting. You will be able to quickly demonstrate how traditional performance measures drive wrong behaviors and how Lean Accounting solves these problems.

Learning Objectives:

“In this session you will learn…”

  • How to present the ideas of Lean and Lean Accounting in a clear, concise fashion.
  • How to present the benefits of Lean and Lean Accounting in a clear, concise fashion.
  • How to run a simple, easy to understand manufacturing simulation that illustrates the benefits of Lean and Lean Accounting.
  • Where to find materials to supplement your training of others in Lean Accounting.

About the Facilitator:

Dr. Gerald K. DeBusk, CPA, CMA, CGMA, is an Associate Professor of Accounting at University of North Carolina Wilmington. His 30+ years of experience include his recent years in academia and 15 years in accounting departments of manufacturing firms (serving in such positions as a Corporate Controller/Secretary-Treasurer, Plant Controller, and Cost Accounting Manager). His industry experience included assignments in organizations pursuing Lean and JIT philosophies. Gerald’s academic research has focused on performance measurement, Lean Six Sigma, and Lean Accounting and has been published in numerous scholarly and practitioner journals. In 2009, Gerald won the Lean Enterprise Institute’s Excellence in Lean Accounting Professor Award. Gerald’s and his co-authors’ teaching innovation in Lean Accounting was recognized by the AICPA when they received honorable mention for the 2012 Mark Chain/FSA Award for Graduate Accounting Teaching Innovation. Gerald has taught entire college courses in Lean Accounting, modules on Lean Accounting in other courses and has conducted numerous continuing professional education courses. Gerald has a B.S. and Ph.D. in accounting from Virginia Tech and a MBA from Liberty University. He can be reached at debuskg@uncw.edu.