Finance shared services and outsourcing

Imagine it’s 2020 and you’re a CFO sat in a Finance shared service centre. There’s a wall of screens showing the latest profit forecasts for each of your divisions - changing every few minutes. In the corner there’s a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) hub with a few people studiously monitoring the 50 bots deployed across your finance processes. In the general accounting team it’s month end - but there’s an air of calm as with your cloud based Enterprise Resourcing Planning (ERP) you can close whenever you want within a few minutes. The brightest monitor in the room is at the back, showing the daily Shared Services Centres (SSC) huddle board with lots of stars and names up in lights.

At PwC we are helping clients take advantage of new digital tools and ways of thinking to move towards this sort of reality. Whether you’re just thinking about shared services or outsourcing or have been established for years and are looking to evolve your SSC further to take advantage of the digital revolution, we can help.

Who can benefit from finance shared services?

Whether you’ve got a mature SSC, a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) deal due to expire or are just thinking about shared services, there are key benefits to be achieved at each of these stages:

  • Modernising a mature shared services operation. This means moving up the value chain to bring more complex roles in such as budgeting, management reporting or treasury. Or squeezing more value out of less using RPA or PwC’s Perform methodology which drives productivity, performance and team satisfaction. Or even moving into Global Business Services - a multi-functional operation focussed on delivering services which add value to the business - including becoming custodians of enterprise data to spot business opportunities.
  • Maximising value from outsourcing. Outsourcing contracts have changed radically in recent years. Getting a good deal now means shorter terms, sharing risk and reward with your provider to transform your processes and demanding more technology enablement from your provider.
  • Beginning your shared services journey. Shared Services and outsourcing can help deliver economies of scale, efficiency and transparency whilst reducing cost - and you can get ahead of the game by adopting the latest digital tools.

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How we can help with your finance shared services?

PwC has a proven methodology that’s been delivered across multiple shared services and outsourcing projects. In the assess phase, using our proprietary benchmarking database (with data from over 500 companies) to identify the case for change means you can set pragmatic goals. Making sure your business is bought into the change is equally important and we’ll support you throughout.

In the design and build phases, we design the future processes and organisation, including which activities will migrate to the shared service centre or be outsourced and which remain local, specifying and selecting any new tools whilst planning the transition. We often help clients find the right location for the new building, and with offices across 160 countries, can support you in navigating local tax, employment laws and other regulations.

The final stage is to implement and then validate to ensure that the new processes are working.

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Advantages of shared services and outsourcing

While often the main driver that leads a business to consider finance shared services or outsourcing is cost reduction, other advantages include:

  • Improving control. Implementing standardised processes means greater transparency and control over processes. Data can be monitored more effectively and company-wide standards enforced with ease.
  • More business insight. Rebalancing your resources as part of a wider change in your finance operating model frees your finance team up to focus using data and analytics to spot both risks and opportunities to grow the business.
  • Reducing cost and non value-add activities. Your finance team shouldn’t be tied up processing invoices and posting journals. Their skills are better placed driving business growth. Standardising processes and consolidating into shared services and outsourced models whilst adopting smart use of finance technology can reduce and even eradicate the time spent on these processes.

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Change management

When outsourcing or migrating work to a shared service centre, there can be scepticism and even resistance to the changes within the business. That’s why we put an emphasis on change management that runs through the organisation. From securing buy-in from the C-suite to working closely with people on the ground, we focus on helping people understand the value that these changes will bring to the business and to individuals. It’s all about helping people embrace change.

At senior level we’ll demonstrate the advantages of the model, and show how the shift to shared services aligns with the business strategy. For employees who carry out day-to-day duties that may be impacted we run workshops to help them understand new ways of working. We also work with you to establish ‘change champions’ from within your organisation. These are employees who can support colleagues during the process, provide coaching and mentoring, and help people get on-board with the changes.

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Why choose PwC?

Building on our many years of implementing shared services, we are helping clients modernise and evolve their shared services and outsourcing operations. With expertise across Digital and Technology platforms, tax and regulatory matters and functional areas like HR, procurement and IT, we partner with our clients to transform their organisations and our global reach means we are able to give accurate recommendations regardless of where you operate.

We also bring a proven methodology called Perform that can help you take shared services to the next level. Perform is a management system created to drive new behaviour and increase performance. It’s been proven to significantly boost productivity and morale with staff, improve performance, and reduce costs in a number of clients’ SSCs. By tailoring solutions using Perform, and traditional tools such as Lean and Process Reengineering, as well as leveraging technology innovations like RPA and Artificial Intelligence we can help you transform your shared services centres.

We are technologically agnostic, so we don’t try to push a specific platform or tool on your business. We bring our experience of all the top tier finance systems, as well as the insight we have through our alliances with leading technology firms such as Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and others. This means we can select the right platforms that will help you shape and deliver meaningful change that complements your organisation and strategy.

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Contact us

Sam Waller

Sam Waller

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7212 5531

Charlotte  Houston

Charlotte Houston

Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 7841 562550

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