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The concept of a shared service center (SSC) has been around for more than 20 years and it is driving efficiencies in organizations around the world, especially in the area of finance.

In fact, companies are now discovering that a finance SSC (FSSC) can be a core part of a financial transformation. When organizations want to drive quality improvements and cut costs, they can use an FSSC to consolidate global administrative tasks while increasing quality, compliance, and transparency.

By offering an array of services for accounting, finance, HR, and other industry-specific options, a company has the opportunity to bundle, harmonize, standardize, and automate many strategic tasks. An FSSC operation allows the company to focus on integrating its core business model while capitalizing on synergies in the financial area.

The next generation FSSC model: Transformation and innovation

As FSSCs becomes part of a bigger transformative effort, the concept is evolving into a next-generation model that would take this traditional concept from efficient to effective.

While there is no generally accepted model for establishing this kind of next-generation FSSC, there is a need for a holistic approach that includes:

  1. A transformation capability. While the goals of an FSSC may vary, there are similar requirements that can help minimize risk and increase success rates. This capability is all about getting the right structures in place to support an FSSC. Included here are such things as the support of top management, a proactive strategy, key performance indicators, clearly defined processes, highly skilled and motivated staff, an IT transformation plan, change management communication, and proper training.
  2. An innovation capability. Equally important for this next-generation model is planning for continuous and long-term innovation. This is what will drive future reductions in costs, improved processes, increased compliance, and greater risk management. This area requires an innovation process, as well as the expertise of people, both internal and external, who are proficient at driving innovation. It also requires a culture that is open to innovation and a work environment that fosters it.

Process transformation combined with innovation is key for this next-generation journey and, when these capabilities work together, great success is possible. And, when executed properly, an FSSC can not only transform a financial department, but also be a pivotal starting point for a full, companywide business transformation.

You can explore in-depth research on this topic in the article, “Next-Level Shared Service Centers: What Capabilities Do You Need?” on page 28 of the 360° – the Business Transformation Journal. The article presents an extensive exploration of two use cases and more on the required transformation and innovation capabilities mentioned here.

This publication is produced by the Business Transformation Academy, a thought leadership network devoted to providing cutting-edge insights on innovation and business transformation. For more business transformation articles on the SAP Community Network, please visit the 360° – the Business Transformation Journal library.