Global business services may prove a game-changer

Head of ACCA SA, Nadine Kater cautions that the shift globally from shared services or outsourcing models to Global Business Services (GBS) may prove a game-changer for Finance.

ACCA has recently released a research report entitled: “Global business services: a game changer for the finance organisation?” The report can be downloaded from the ACCA global

The research revealed that numerous benefits accrue from adopting a GBS model, including the ability for Finance to move up the value chain once further efficiencies are obtained. Benefits include the potential to accelerate growth; the ability to integrate new geographies more quickly into existing infrastructure; and access to a truer end-to-end cross-functional view of business processes. Access to more comprehensive data, technology and capability across the business, will provide real insights and more accurate and actionable business plans.

While GBS does not change Finance’s priorities, the methods for achieving these priorities changes. New organisational structures, location, relationships with other functions, governance and opportunities to increase value through better business planning and the creation of insights provides finance with more options. In addition, priorities for control, cost, efficiency and compliance may be driven in a more effective way.

One of the biggest challenges emanates from deciding, who within the organisation, should lead GBS. This is not cut and dried. In some instances, the CFO is best positioned to lead GBS given Finance’s evolution, scalability, geography and the ability to make change. In other instances, other executives are better placed to lead GBS.

The GBS model may have significant implications for the career paths of Finance professionals as their responsibilities and roles may change. Finance leaders may find themselves further removed from the transactional finance process delivery. Without the responsibilities of running shared services, there is an opportunity for them to build their commercial skills and capabilities. The heavy focus on end-to-end processes will also enable them to master new technologies, improve work flows, and develop new process solutions.

ACCA’s research recognises that while GBS may be good for business, it is not a panacea for all challenges within Finance. The full implications are not yet clear, but one thing is certain: the impact will be profound.

Nadine Kater
Head of ACCA SA

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