SSC vision or the future of financial processes

The organisational structure of companies is constantly evolving in response to changing needs and external influences. Modern firms need an organisational structure that can respond to these changes quickly and effectively.  The development of Shared Service Centres (SSCs) and Global Business Services (GBS) may be one solution to this problem.   

The rise of SSCs is due to their ability to evolve rapidly and adapt to different geopolitical circumstances (e.g. Brexit).  They also provide fast and high quality services, resulting in a better customer experience and higher business results. 

A 2021 study "2021 Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey Report" by Deloitte, with nearly 600 participants, sought to find out what the main drivers are for the development of SSCs. This led to the conclusion that the main reason for developing the SSC model was to standardise procedures, which was cited by 88% of respondents. 

In contrast, for companies already operating in a GBS organisational model, the main focus area is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which is expected to remain a focus area for the next 1-3 years.  This has been followed by further global standardisation of processes and the roll-out of end-to-end Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The research shows that SSCs will continue to drive the transformation of corporate finance departments as a way to increase the efficiency and business value of corporate operations and reduce organisational costs in the longer term.

The standardisation of procedures has also been raised in another study.  The study "Finance 2025 revisited", published by Deloitte, looked at the role of the finance department in the future.  Forecasts originally prepared in 2018 expected full automation by 2021, which would have simplified day-to-day work and thus freed up time for employees to focus on more complex tasks.  The forecast expected traditional processes to disappear and finance departments to shift their focus to designing, configuring and managing automation systems. In comparison, by 2021, automation slowed down due to a lack of standardisation of processes and less emphasis on data architecture deployment

According to recent updated forecasts, by 2025, companies' financial processes will focus on the use of big data, analysis and modelling to inform and help companies' decision makers to make strategic decisions.  Everyday tasks will be more easily automated through ERP and other systems, freeing up resources for employees to automate their financial planning and forecasting processes and other higher value-added tasks. 

Overall, finance is moving away from automating simpler tasks towards redesigning more complex, end-to-end processes, which will provide deeper business insights and therefore better business decisions.  However, this requires 100% standardisation of non-strategy related financial processes.  One way to achieve this could be the development of SSCs and GBSs, which, in addition to standardised processes, also lead to cost efficiencies, a critical aspect for maintaining market position. 

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