How To End Inefficient Operations
Growth and development
Over the last decade, companies have invested in creating shared service centres in order to streamline their business processes and make operations more efficient. Speaking to Francisco Rodriguez, Director of Internal Controls at Genesys, a telecommunications company, who has had first-hand experience in building finance-shared service centres throughout his career, it is interesting to understand how these centres have come into being and since grown into something of a lucrative global enterprise.
“Depending on where you work in shared services you can get a great deal of exposure,” says Rodriguez, “handling assignments that take on a horizontal review of a company’s operational and financial processes, as you start in the country and work your way outward with an audit of the shared services and processes related to the country, it gives you a start to finish exposure. It adds a great amount of value.” For an individual looking at the most effective route to a successful financial management career, the opportunities presented by working within a finance shared service centre are hugely valuable.
Impact and influence
With exposure to both global and local management, working in shared services endows you with a great deal of influence within the company as whatever changes you make will translate into changes being rolled out regionally and globally. It’s important though to acknowledge that unless you are undertaking a specific role, for example as an internal auditor within a shared services centre there is a possibility of getting lost in the minutiae of processing transactions; as Rodriguez asserts, however regardless of the role “working in shared services is a great way to learn the processes, the spinal cord of the company and get exposure to all areas of the business.”
On the subject of growth and the journey shared services have undertaken, Rodriguez explains that companies once focused on a single region to house their shared service centres, predominantly in India due to cost efficiencies. “They would siphon services into one area but it became apparent that there is so much skill set you can buy when you expand those services into other geographical locations,” he says. “The talent pool opens up exponentially.” Where it used to be a wholly economically-driven decision, outsourcing processes to lower cost regions, companies have gradually become smarter about choosing where to base their shared services. “I see it growing,” says Rodriguez of the trend to set up shared services centres, “it all depends of course on the size of the company, for example, Diageo now has four centres, while AB-InBev has seven around the globe.” The latter’s centres are based in Argentina, Brazil, St Louis, Prague, Budapest, Kiev, and China.
Having a direct hand in setting up a number of these centres while working for Diageo and AB-InBev, Rodriguez explains that while Eastern Europe had already established itself as an important hub for shared financial services, countries like Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica are also now coming to the fore as worthy options. “Costa Rica has become a hub for technology and shared service centres,” says Rodriguez, “and due to the fact it is a great deal more organised than it used to be and is placing greater requirements on people to learn more and upskill, it has earned its place on the global stage as a strong contender for shared services.”
A growing trend within the world of finance, shared service centres look set to continue their upward trajectory and pose a highly lucrative platform for those aspiring to work in finance management. Offering the potential for 360-degree exposure to business, opportunities to effect changes worldwide and gain valuable experience, finance shared service centres offer individuals intent on carving a career for themselves in finance management a unique prospect to further their ambition and secure eventual success.
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