Too many accounting managers rely solely upon themselves for the generation of ideas, treating their staffs simply as workers who do what they are told. This command-level management approach ignores a potentially vast amount of worker expertise. While the primary cause of this problem is the mind-set of the accounting manager, there are software systems available that can assist in collecting ideas from employees.
These systems are called knowledge management systems (KMSs). A KMS is not a glorified suggestion box (though it does have that function!). In addition to accepting suggestions, it also focuses contributors onto several key challenges identified by corporate management, establishes bulletin boards on which related comments can be posted, and keeps contributors updated with the latest posted comments. In addition, management can assign suggestions to groups of in-house experts for evaluation, score their comments, and assign approved suggestions for implementation. Thus, a KMS covers the entire workflow associated with employee suggestions, assuring that they are reviewed, approved, and implemented in a timely manner. Such systems are really designed for large organizations, and are priced accordingly (a mid-five-figure price tag is the minimum starting point).
An example is Imaginatik’s Idea Central, which can be accessed at the Imaginatik Web site at www.imaginatik.com.