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Improving efficiency and effectiveness with Lean Six Sigma

Client Spotlight: Jane Scaccetti, CPA, MT, PFS, Shareholder & Chief Executive Officer, Drucker & Scaccetti

Firm Name: Drucker & Scaccetti

Location: Philadelphia, PA

# of Offices: 2

# of Partners: 19 (+ 2 partners emeritus)

# of Employees: ~84

Improving efficiency and effectiveness with Lean Six Sigma.

Many organizations, when they start out, develop their processes on the fly. They aren’t the most efficient, but with only five, ten or even 20 employees, inefficiencies, personal preferences and waste may not have a significant impact on productivity. The problem is, as the organization grows, these inefficiencies become ingrained in the company culture. Once you have 50, 60 or 70 people all doing things a different way, these inefficiencies create problems and add risk.

Jane Scaccetti, Shareholder and CEO of Drucker & Scaccetti, initially observed this not in her own firm, but in her role as a board member for Temple University Hospital. The hospital’s emergency room was undergoing a Lean Six Sigma Study and looking for ways to turn over its operating rooms faster.

In order to prepare an OR for the next patient, hospital staff needs to remove trash and linen, clean and set up equipment, mop the floor, etc. In addition to all the cleaning and disinfecting, different surgeons want the room set up different ways – from how equipment is set up to music playing and even temperature of the room. Accommodating these personal preferences increases operating room turnover time, which means fewer surgeries performed in a day and lower revenues. Scaccetti realized CPA firms face the same inefficiencies in preparing tax returns.

With all of Drucker and Scaccetti’s 84 employees 100% focused on tax compliance and consulting, the firm needed to be efficient and effective to combat risk and provide greater value to its clients. Scaccetti thought if the hospital could find Lean Six Sigma consulting to improve its operations, surely there was something similar for the accounting profession. Her search lead her to Lean Six Sigma for CPA Firms.

The firm worked with Arianna Campbell on a Lean process improvement project over their tax preparation processes two years ago. The firm made a few other improvements at the same time, so it’s difficult to narrow down improved metrics from the Lean project alone. However, in the past two years, their realization increased from 78% to 82%.

But Scaccetti says she’s noticed other benefits as well. “In employee surveys, responses from the lower level staff have been much more positive,” she says.” “They’re learning more, getting greater opportunities and working with different partners. Standardizing processes does away with partners coveting certain staff.”

Scaccetti says getting highly credible people on board was key to getting buy-in on the initiative. “Trust the experts, listen to what they have to say and champion the cause,” she says. “At times, their advice will run counter to what you think should be done, but in the long run you’ll be more efficient and effective which in turn leads to profitability.”

Get to know Jane

Scaccetti calls herself a “typical Philadelphian,” born and educated in Philly.

Initially, she was pursuing an undergraduate degree in marine biology but had to quit school for a year when she ran out of money. During that time, she worked in the sales, audit and statistical department of a department store. One of her duties included bringing each day’s financial reports up to the store’s VP, who would ask her how the company was doing. When Scaccetti told him the company must be doing better because the numbers were bigger, the VP explained bigger numbers didn’t always mean better results. Those conversations lead Scaccetti to return to school as an accounting major.

She received her BA from Temple University and a Master’s in Taxation from Villanova University and was hired by the ninth largest firm in the country at that time. She remained there and eventually became a partner until the firm closed its doors in 1990, and she teamed up with other tax partners to found Drucker & Scaccetti.

In addition to her work at the firm, Scaccetti she sits on various non-profit and for-profit boards. She has one daughter who graduated from Wharton and specializes in talent management for Saxby’s Coffee.

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