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Business integrity in service delivery
Reliably demonstrating the value of business integrity
Just as companies are increasingly looking to their shared services centers to scale capabilities, they now have an additional opportunity to leverage them for maintaining business integrity.
What is business integrity?
Business integrity refers to having reliable data upon which to base decisions before, during, and after a significant structural change to the business. This change can involve the implementation of a growth strategy, such as a merger or acquisition, expansion of a business line, or entrance into a new market. Or, the change can be precipitated by a major market event, such as a new regulatory mandate or the availability of a new technology capability.
What is the value of business integrity in shared services?
Shared services centers work with cross-functional processes and data so they are well-positioned to add value by being the guardians of business integrity. Companies can better manage their risks and improve their overall business performance by adopting the principles of business integrity within their shared services functions.
As illustrated below, these principles can be grouped into six focus areas, which center upon:
- Clear accountability as well as efficient workflow and document management
- Accuracy in processing and customer satisfaction
- Completeness in transactions and implementation of standard, global policies with common procedures
- Audit-ready controls that are performed in a timely manner to detect errors
- Holistically driven compliance, along with policies that provide adequate guidance
- Information security and brand protection
Here are a few examples of how putting these principles into practice can add value to shared services centers of excellence:
- Finance and Accounting
- Technology and Data
- Risk and Controls
- Regulatory and Compliance
Business integrity should be a mindset
Organizations can guard and improve overall financial and operational performance of their business by deploying principles for strong business integrity.
- Well-designed and sustainable internal controls approach with emphasis on performance, accountability, and risk management.
- Focus on governance and continuous improvement will enable business and growth strategies.
- Securing data is key, however, better quality and access to data will help management decision making and driving synergies in the organization.
How can you get started?
Ultimately, organizations should adopt a well-designed and sustainable internal controls framework that emphasizes performance, accountability, and risk management. This framework should be industry-specific and address both financial and operational risks. In terms of business integrity, this might mean developing controls that support the validity of purchase orders, accurate, and complete delivery of goods and services, timely order fulfilment, veracity of pricing, and margin calculations, and authorized access to networks and sensitive data.