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Benchmarking Finance Shared Services: Our Survey Results

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Admin Coda
2013/07/23

At our recent conference, The Summit for Leaders in Finance Shared Services, sharedserviceslink.com conducted a pre-conference survey profiling the delegates. The aim of the survey was to help build an understanding of the needs and requirements of the audience, as well as to help the delegates benchmark against their peers.

As this survey was limited to those who attended the conference, the sample size is relatively small, however it reveals some interesting insights into the North American shared services market. 

Survey respondents were North American finance shared services professionals including Directors and Managers of Shared Services, Finance Directors, VPs of Finance, P2P Directors, P2P Process Owners, AP Directors, Directors of Treasury, VPs of Accounting, and Financial Administration, amongst others.

Here are some of our key insights and findings from the survey. These findings are useful for shared services to develop Key Performance Indicators, KPIs for shared services.

Shared service centres are maturing 
One stand-out statistic from the survey was that over 80% of respondents have had a shared service centre more than two years. Furthermore, 68% of the audience’s shared services centres are more than four years old. It was a fairly small proportion of the respondents who were looking to establish a shared service centre (3%) or were centralised, but not quite yet a shared service centre (14%).  While this doesn’t represent the state of the shared service centres in North America generally, it puts some of the other questions in context of responses by fairly mature shared service centres.

Shared services are multifunctional
As this was a summit for leaders in finance shared services, all of our audience have finance and accounting functions in their shared services (including AP). However it was interesting to see that 40% of the audience also had procurement as a function within their shared services. 32% had Human Resources, 24% had IT shared services, and 14% had real estate in their SSO. Just a handful of people said that their shared service centre incorporated functions including Marketing, Communications, and Records Management.

Delivering value is a priority
The Summit’s focus was how shared service centres can deliver value to the business. One of the questions asked was “How important is it that your shared service centre delivers value?”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 97% felt that delivering value is ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’. 

Service improvement is a key
The survey also asked what the key objectives of the shared service centres were for the next 12-18 months. Again, the responses are reflective of the needs of fairly established and mature organisations. The top 5 objectives were:

  • Improving Customer Satisfaction (78%)
  • Continuous improvement (75%)
  • Automation and Standardisation (69%)
  • Efficiency Savings (66%)
  • Adding Value / Moving up the value chain (55%)

We will be looking to do similar surveys for our future events and our wider audience. If you have any questions about this survey, or future ones, please email [email protected]

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