Nancy Jalbert
Partner | CPA, CA | Management consulting

You completed your audit 4.0. What do you have to do now to achieve your business’s digital transformation? Where do you begin?

Here you are, recommendations in hand, facing a plan providing you with a clear portrait of your business’s level of digital maturity.

You now have to take action to develop this maturity in line with your strategic planning. But where do you start to achieve your ambitions?

Take action

Step 1: Determine project priority

The 4.0 diagnosis includes a digital plan presenting an overview of the intermediate and digital transformation projects to be implemented.

At a certain point, the business will have to make a final selection of the projects to be implemented based on its budget and implementation plan. It is therefore necessary to determine the critical path for achieving the objectives of the various strategic and operational directions established.

To help you categorize your actions objectively, we suggest that you define some criteria and give them a summary score (between 1 and 5).

You could, for example, use the following criteria:

  • Criticality: Is your project critical? (5 = very critical, 1 = less critical);
  • Immediate realization: Does your project depend on the implementation of other projects?
    (5 = project without other prerequisite projects, 1 = project with several other prerequisite projects);
  • Budget and expected return: Will the return on investment on your project be quick or very significant (5 = project with high expected return, 1 = project with lower expected return);
  • Timeframe: Is the expected end date of your project fixed and achievable (5 = very achievable within expected timeframe, 1 = improbable or unrealistic timeframe);
  • Risk: Does your project involve risks that could negatively affect the company’s performance if they were poorly defined? (5 = low risk, 1 = high risk);
  • Impact: Will the completion or non-completion of your project have an impact on the achievement of your objectives? (5 = significant impact, 1 = no impact).

Then, you will have to add up the scores to obtain an overall score. Higher scores will determine the priority of projects to be implemented.

You will therefore be able to better categorize your projects based on the following priorities:

  • Priority no. 1: important and urgent;
  • Priority no. 2: important and non-urgent;
  • Priority no. 3: not important and urgent;
  • Priority no. 4: (abandon): not important and non-urgent.

Step 2: Analyze project feasibility

Once you have finished prioritizing your projects, some of them with a high number of variables will require more rigorous analysis to determine in greater depth the difference between what the 4.0 diagnosis predicts and the actual situation.

The feasibility analysis therefore confirms whether or not the optimistic view of the digital plan is valid in your situation. It is, to some extent, the ultimate test before making a definitive commitment to the project.

Concretely, you will conduct:

Step 3: Establish project charter

Now that you know your priority projects and are aware that the gap between the 4.0 diagnosis your situation is narrowed, it is essential to finally define the project.

  • Draft a preliminary statement of the purpose of the project.
  • Confirm and specify its objectives.
  • Determine the project’s main actors.
  • Define the project’s authority (its champion).

This charter serves, among other things, to authorize the project and acts somewhat as a contract between the project champion, the various stakeholders and the project team. Of course, you must obtain senior management approval before starting your project.

Step 4: Manage projects

The management steps of technology projects emerging from an industry 4.0 audit are not so different from those of another type of project, i.e. planning, execution, control and finalization.

However, not everyone is comfortable with technologies. This is one of the reasons why projects relating to the digital shift bring their share of challenges.

You will have to adapt your management style, as the projects will be affected by new elements, that companies are not familiar with:

  • internet of objects,
  • additive manufacturing,
  • system integration,
  • autonomous systems,
  • augmented reality,
  • simulations,
  • massive data,
  • cybersecurity,
  • cloud computing.
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Project managers don’t have to be experts in all of these fields, but they must act as digital transformation leaders and coaches.

That said, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Support by experts in digital and organizational transformation can make all the difference between facing the future with confidence and conviction and remaining immobilized in the status quo.

Key factors for success:

Get your employees involved in your digital transformation from the very beginning of the project
An employee who is engaged and committed to the success of your growth projects will become a positive leader and excellent ambassador for your employer brand.

Put employee health and safety first
New technologies and robots will require special attention and handling. Standards, employee interaction, workspace reconfiguration and risk management are matters to consider in your transformation.

Be realistic
Not everyone has the same digital maturity, and a technology project involves resources and expertise. Start on the right track with the support of business advisors.

Establish measurable objectives
Without a goal, it will be difficult for you to measure the impact of any change. Assess your results regularly, that way you can consider improvement measures quickly instead of lingering in a doomed situation.

Aim for small victories
What pays off quickly is extremely motivating and instills the desire to surpass oneself and go even further.

Challenge your business model
Ask yourself: Does it contribute to or hamper your progress.

Invest in training
Trained and informed employees will be more productive and more likely to present new ideas and innovate. Training is an important factor when it comes to considering your future in a company.

Don’t overlook the importance of proper communication
Taking the time to explain the reason for the changes will promote a better understanding on the part of all staff and it will be easier to get your resources on board with on this new adventure.

Develop a change culture management plan and listen to your employees
You would be surprised to see how much they can contribute in ideas and suggestions for improvement.

Don’t try to do it alone
Your projects will require a good financial investment and will require much from your resources. Being supported by experts will make the task manageable for all.

In a context of digital transformation, the magnitude of the technological challenges facing organizations is relatively large. For most SMEs, a technology project can be a daunting adventure.

Beyond competitiveness, you will have to take a look at your how you manage your human resources who are essential to the growth of your organization. A technological project can quickly become demanding for your employees in addition to taking them out of their comfort zone. That’s why it’s important to implement ways to retain your resources and keep them mobilized.

Feel free to call on our experts in information technology, business strategies and models, organizational performance and human resources management to assist you in all stages of the implementation of 4.0 projects, such as:

  • the realization of an information technology master plan;
  • the management of technological projects;
  • guidance in selecting computer systems;
  • guidance in implementing computer systems;
  • business strategies and models;
  • organizational performance;
  • human resource management.

04 Oct 2019  |  Written by :

Nancy Jalbert is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. She is your expert in strategic and...

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Clara Demers
Manager | Management consulting

You built your SME with your sweat of your brow and plan to pass the torch in the next three to five years. Some key employees could become the ideal buyers to ensure your enterprise’s sustainability.

In some regions of Quebec and in several activity sectors, the work force shortage is a major issue that requires SMEs to be quite agile. In this respect, an effective and timely succession plan is a very useful tool to retain the best talent within the organization.

Some of your best-performing employees could therefore be involved in the eventual transaction, becoming future shareholders. To this end, communication between the transferor and potential buyers must be clearly established. The current business owners must indicate their intentions. If they want to leave the organization in five years, they need to be up front about it. Nowadays, business succession is no longer just a family matter.

Therefore, have the courage to discuss the issue directly with those you think could eventually take over internally. Three steps make it easier to complete this transition project.

A– Identify key employees

Have the employees you’re considering established a career plan? Do they have the requisite entrepreneurial skills? What are their professional goals? These discussions set the stage for the next steps. For example, you could give targeted employees a few management assignments in advance to gauge their interest and see if they have the right job profile.

These additional responsibilities assigned over time can also facilitate the transfer of authority. The financial capacity of the buyers to obtain the required financing should also be considered. They can then benefit from a gradual integration into the shareholding structure. At the same time, the buyers will increase their participation in the organization.

B– Get help

Entrepreneurs obviously can’t do everything alone. People who transfer ownership of a company they’ve been running for 25 years sometimes think they can navigate the transfer maze on their own. Beware of this wishful thinking. The support of a specialist can make all the difference in the development of a succession plan. Using an external resource ensures that you have a fresh perspective on the situation. And what could be better than to be able to count on leading-edge expertise to leave nothing to chance?

Lastly, remember that a business transfer is not something you can improvise. By relying on a specialized team, you can anticipate potential problems and gradually transfer the required knowledge. Transferors should not disappear overnight following the conclusion of the transaction.

C– Ensure a smooth transition

Over time, potential buyers will put their own stamp on the business. The transferor and buyer should expect an overlap during the transition process. It is not uncommon to see the buyer get involved during the first year following the transfer and even to hold the position of board chair. This type of transfer doesn’t just take place at the time of the visit to the notary’s office: rather, it is spread over a period of time.

You have to trust the leaders you choose to carry out the process. They may have different methods, but you have to accept these differences. For their part, buyers must understand that it is a part of yourself that you’re leaving in their hands.

Get employees involved and ensure their loyalty

If you plan to withdraw from the business, state your intention early enough to allow for the development of a proper succession plan.

By letting it be known that there are opportunities for advancement as a result of your eventual departure, you give key employees a chance to demonstrate their interest and skills and, perhaps, invest their energy in ensuring the sustainability of “their” SME. That way, you can be sure that you can count on your best collaborators in the coming years.

01 Oct 2019  |  Written by :

Clara Demers is your expert in management consulting at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. Contact her...

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Eric Dufour
Vice-President, Partner | FCPA, FCA | Management consulting

How can you win the race for the best talent in the context of globalization and workforce shortages?

Today’s business world is facing one of the greatest periods of transformation since the first industrial revolution.

Globalization, the fourth industrial revolution and labour issues are shaking up markets and ambitions.

What skills will tomorrow’s leaders need? How can you make sure your organization is able to compete in the battle for talent and clients?

Prosperous businesses and tomorrow’s leaders will have to call on a number of key factors, including:

  • A revised human resource management model;
  • Innovation;
  • Openness to inclusive and diversified teams;
  • Succession planning to ensure permanency.

A revised human resource management model

Don’t misunderstand: traditional talent management still counts. However, it’s essential to integrate new processes to retain talent and increase appeal.

Consider the workforce issue as an opportunity to transform your practices.

There are several significant levers, such as the employer brand, competency development, global compensation strategy and recruiting strategies that can support the implementation of talent attraction and loyalty processes to enhance efficiency and performance.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you have an attractive global compensation strategy that aligns with your ambitions and your market’s situation?
  2. Is your employer brand solid enough to support staff loyalty and new talent attraction issues?
  3. Do your managers have the requisite skills to manage human resources and appropriately fulfill their role in a transformation context?
  4. Does your organizational structure contribute to moving your organization and resources forward or does it hamper progress?
  5. Should you consider new recruiting strategies, such as international recruiting?
  6. Do you have the right tools to improve the employee and candidate experience as well as your new talent onboarding and integration practises?
  7. Is your work climate conducive to achieving your organizational goals and those of your talent in their quest for happiness at work?

Through in-depth reflection and expert advice from human resource management experts, you will be able to optimize your practices and take a closer look at the key moments that have the greatest impact on your employees’ engagement.

Technological innovation for the benefit of business

Would labour force issues be an opportunity to rethink your organizational structure, or even your business model, by calling on the benefits of automation and technology?

Eliminating a number of more basic tasks paves the way for employees to provide added value in areas machines are not able to.

The road to the digital transformation and achieving your ambitions will, however, require that you adapt your talent management approach:

  • Rethinking jobs, including digital transformation functions and skills;
  • Transforming career management, with continuous support;
  • Ensuring transformational leadership that fosters behavioural and cultural changes through engagement and inspiration;
  • Providing for the multiplication of skills and custom training;
  • Performing organizations are those that are agile and open to technological change.
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While organizations can use digital transformation to increase productivity, support specific functions and limit the impact of labour force issues, it is the balance between technological innovation, engagement and the required skills that will need to be a priority for your organization.

Openness to inclusive and diversified teams

Openness to inclusive and diversified teams also means seeking out new talent internationally. Moreover, a growing number of organizations are opting for turnkey employee recruiting and mobility solutions in order to meet the challenges of the specialized workforce.

Canada is appealing to foreign workers. Quebec businesses, for example, are recruiting qualified employees, not only from French-speaking countries, but also from Asia, Latin American and Eastern Europe.

These workers’ mobility is an effective way to support production and business activities. Opening up to teams integrating workers from various backgrounds contributes significantly to the enrichment of an entrepreneurial culture and a culture of innovation.

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International recruiting requires the use of customized solutions and support by qualified experts should be considered at all stages of the process. The key steps include:

  • Understanding the international hiring process;
  • Defining recruiting strategies based on your organization’s situation;
  • Selecting candidates based on their skills and the current temporary immigration program eligibility criteria;
  • Carrying out the legal steps (temporary work permits, status extension, validation of the candidate’s eligibility and representations by authorized experts with government bodies);
  • Applying for permanent residency, leading to Canadian citizenship;
  • Developing an onboarding and integration action plan.

In the context of globalization that is creating new challenges and a multitude of opportunities, recruiting specialized talent from outside the country and temporary immigration are options that must be considered.

In fact, young people are looking for modern, diversified organizations that make the effort to renew themselves and that promote values such as equality and openness.

Sharing experiences, cultural exchange and evolution in an open environment are all vectors for improved productivity and better overall job satisfaction.

Succession planning to ensure permanency

A business transfer involves more than just the accounting aspects. Today, business transfers are recognized more as a human issue. In fact, a Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton study reveals that 76% of respondents consider aspects other than finances and taxes to be important.

Which is good, because a Canadian survey revealed, for its part, that only 33% of businesses survive the transition from the first generation to the second and only 10% from the second to the third.

In short, a business transfer is not easy and takes time. It should be planned at least five years in advance, whether it’s a family business transfer or a sale to an unrelated third party.

Why? In order to have the time to “prepare” the organization and its stakeholders for this often gradual change of custody, but also, to enable it to have access to certain financial and tax advantages that it would have to forego without adequate preparation.

A business transfer also requires adequate support.

Using a team of neutral experts will guide you towards success by providing you with the right information on:

  • The organization’s strengths and weaknesses;
  • The potential alignment of the transferor’s and transferee’s profile and intentions;
  • The transfer potential (advantages and disadvantages) in relation to human resources, management, finance and taxation, as well as succession planning.

The benefits of a succession plan

In the context of the workforce issue, with a well thought-out transfer plan, you can benefit from the following advantages:

  • Anticipating potential problems;
  • Ensuring a gradual knowledge and skills transfer;
  • Anticipating competency development, where necessary;
  • Providing professional development, promotion, etc. opportunities for the current team, based on needs created by the seller’s departure and the buyer’s new roles and responsibilities;
  • Increasing the current team’s commitment;
  • Fostering a sense of security for all involved (workers, management team, financial partners, suppliers and customers);
  • Reflecting on the organization’s positioning and strategic directions to have a clear vision to communicate to all employees (a powerful workforce attraction, engagement and retention tool).

The ball’s in your court, it’s your turn!

27 Sep 2019  |  Written by :

Éric Dufour is a vice-president at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in management...

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In our continued effort to offer you relevant and useful tools, we are pleased, at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, to publish a French version of IFRS Example Consolidated Financial Statements 2019, a publication by the Grant Thornton International IFRS team entitled États financiers consolidés types conformes aux IFRS – 2019 (hereinafter the “Example consolidated financial statements’’).

The Example consolidated financial statements have been updated to reflect changes in IFRS that are effective for the year ending December 31, 2019. These include the adoption of IFRS 16 Leases, which become effective for accounting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2019. No account has been taken of any new developments published after April 30, 2019.

Download the document below.