Global ambitions for shared services
Finance shared services
How determined to expand is your shared services organisation?
Every year sharedserviceslink.com runs a European summit for leaders in finance shared services. It’s our flagship event, and I’ve been researching the agenda for the 2013 conference. This year there has been a notable trend in how many finance shared services are looking to globalise their shared services and extend their scope beyond finance.
Based on this research and feedback from some of the high calibre speakers were are recruiting, we are changing the name of the conference to The European Summit for Leaders in Shared Services: Leveraging finance shared services to enable multi-functional transformation.
We will be launching the event in a few weeks, but I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned talking to leaders of global business services.
Use finance as your flagship. Finance shared services is often the pioneering shared service, which proves the shared service model and how it benefits the business. Shared service leaders can use this as the business case to expand into multi-functional shared services.
Don’t underestimate the savings that can be gained from shared services in areas beyond finance. Efficiency gains from IT and procurement have been known to eclipse the savings in finance. Also, you may discover underdeveloped processes and discover ways to improve efficiency in other departments as you move to standardise.
Get (and keep) commitment from the top. Every successful global shared services leader I spoke to underlined the need for senior leadership and support throughout the process. When significant changes are taking place, you need to have a firm message from your C-suite. You’ll also need to keep them engaged and feedback encouraging news to keep them on board. In some cases global shared services leaders sit on company boards. If you don’t, just make sure the board is 100% behind you.
Be patient. Don’t forget that defining processes, documenting processes, and getting everyone on board with a new way of working can be an arduous project and may take longer than you think.
Don’t ‘wing it’. Change management is difficult. A shared service director will have lots to do, and can’t always be the one responsible for managing change. Have a plan in place and get some expert advice, either from consultants or people who have done this before.
Get ready. Global Business Services are a reality, and in the opinion of some senior GBS leaders, if you operate globally, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ you should go to a GBS model.
This event will address both the issues facing purely finance shared services, as well as those with an interest to expand in scope. We are excited about this year’s agenda.
Are you looking to expand in scope? Who are you looking to for inspiration? Let us know in the comments or email me at email@example.com .