Future Challenges Facing the Shared Services Centre in China and Greater Asia Pacific

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Future Challenges Facing the Shared Services Centre in China and Greater Asia Pacific

Looking into the world and future from China

Shared service center's, traditionally supporting middle and back office operations encompassing Finance, HR and IT have widely been utilized by enterprises of varying size and industry.  With improvements in technology and strategic decision management, the traditional shared service centre model is evolving from a standalone functional transaction model to strategic value model which assumes more responsibility and regional/global value- add.

These innovations and changes are driving shared service centre's away from the single purpose of cost optimization to supporting corporate strategy and management objectives. However, during its evolution, the shared service center's are also encountering more and more challenges, some of which are worthy of special attention when it comes to shared services center's based in China.

In 2013, Deloitte partnered with ACCA to release After Remote Delivery: The China Story. Once again, Deloitte has partnered with ACCA to release another report, Future Challenges Facing the Shared Services Centre in China and Greater Asia Pacific. The report features an analysis on the developing trends for shared service center's in China and Asia Pacific as well as identifying key focus areas in talent management, innovation, global process delivery and governance.

Focusing on talent management, the report indicates that continuous increasing staff and operational costs are forcing enterprises to leverage technology advances such as artificial intelligence and automation in order to handle increased volumes of rule based and transactional processes. In addition, many shared service center's are focusing on internal and external company brand management in order to differentiate against competitors and to attract talent.

David Wu, Partner of Finance Transformation China, said: “With the evolution of SSC, the nature of talent demand is rapidly changing in Asia and China and the traditional manpower focus has shifted from transactional operations to middle and senior management operational enhancements and optimization. This demand brings new challenges around talent acquisition and retention in local markets. Furthermore, there is an increasing need to elevate the strategic importance of SCCs within these local markets and to develop new approaches to maintain their service standards. Deloitte continues to work closely with our partners in studying and exploring practical and efficient methods for sharing with our clients in every market. We believe that the answer could be different for the China market, but innovation will be the key to succeed.”

Ada Leung, head of ACCA China, said: “In an ever increasingly competitive market, shared service centres have to essentially battle it out with each other to prove why people should choose to work for them specifically. Here in China, to entice people looking for work, some SSCs offer benefits such as gym membership, to help create a work-life balance, which is ultimately what everyone wants.

At the two forums held by ACCA in Guangzhou and Shenzhen recently, leaders of shared service centers or data centers from more than 200 enterprises had in-depth discussions on the issues mentioned in the report. Steven Yang, Associate Director of Deloitte Consulting, was invited to make a speech as an expert. Steven analyzed Deloitte's findings from the latest surveys on shared service centre. He also shared Deloitte's insights and experience from many shared service engagements on the key issues, including the problems, difficulties and solutions at the initial stage of establishing shared service centres, how to manage and motivate the people working in shared service centres, as well as the management setup and management issues regarding the service level of shared service centres. 

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