Best at the Basics

The 1998 REACH Award winners exemplify excellence in core finance operations.


They're back! If the winners of the 1998 REACH Awards sound familiar, there's a reason.

* Only Cargill Inc., judged best in internal audit, is making its first appearance in the winners' circle. Click here for their story.
* Case Corp., a three-time finalist in the 1996 competition and a two-time winner last year, returns as overall champion and recipient of four individual prizes--for accounting processes, tax operations, customer processing, and treasury operations. Click here for their story.
* IBM Corp., the overall champ in 1996, takes two category awards this year, for employee processing and vendor processing. Click here for their story.

Such results reflect the core values underlying the REACH Awards. Co-sponsored by CFO magazine and MasterCard Corporate Products, the REACH Awards were designed to honor excellence in financial process reengineering. And reengineering, as everyone knows, is a continuous effort. Only by persevering one process at a time do companies ultimately transform their entire finance operations. It's a lesson Case and IBM have learned well. Reengineering at those companies is four and five years old, respectively. Cargill has been at it since the early 1990s. And all indications are that no one is giving up yet.

And no one, least of all the past and present REACH winners, would claim that even a world-class finance organization can fully insulate a company from the slings and arrows of global economic turmoil. Last year, the crises in Asia and Russia hit Case and Cargill hard despite the achievements of their finance departments. What their reengineering initiatives can do is help limit the damage from such disasters, and set these companies on a corrective course more quickly. With reengineering, says Cargill CFO Robert Lumpkins, "[potential problems] have a better chance of getting found, and getting found earlier."


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