Improving the Administration of City-Wide Accounting Exams

The Controller’s Office Human Resources team in the city of San Francisco, conducts standardized exams for all accounting job applicants in the City. Administering the exam is labor intensive, time-consuming, error prone and requires keen oversight and review. The HR team partnered with the Lean Team to strengthen their processes.

Over a series of four rapid improvement meetings, the project team improved the process by:

  • Consolidating documents in exam packets
  • Updating exam invites to convey procedures and expectations
  • Standardizing exam proctor roles during an exam
  • Streamlining the registration process for candidates
  • Adding signage to minimize wait time
  • Designing a new cellphone intake process for exams


After measuring their improvements, they captured these results:

  • Exam preparation time went down by more than half from over 4 hours to less than 2 hours
  • Removing the need to prep exam-approved pencils eliminated a day’s worth of extra work
  • Registration time for 200 candidates on exam day went down from 45 minutes to 25 minutes

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