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Readout: Shared Services Senior Executive Forum Hosted by Procter & Gamble – February 12, 2013

On February 12, 2013, Procter & Gamble hosted a Peeriosity Senior Executive Forum at their corporate offices in Cincinnati, Ohio with attendance restricted to the senior-most leaders of Shared Services at Peeriosity member companies.   (Note: Membership is required to attend, with three Forums per year provided at no cost to members.  Deere & Company will host the next Forum in May, 2013.)

Over 30 Executives representing 26 leading Shared (Business) Services organizations attended the Forum. P&G chose the Forum theme, with specific topics selected by, and featuring, attending member company representatives.  Similar to all Peeriosity interactions, vendors and consultants were prohibited from attending or having access to attendee details or discussion content.

Meeting Theme: “Next Generation Finance & Accounting Shared Services – Business Planning, Analysis, and Decision Support Services”
Topic 1

Key Foundations of Finance & Accounting Shared Services to Facilitate Higher Level Service Offerings

  • Data Collection
  • Global Standards
  • Technology Enablers
  • Role Definitions
  • Other Foundations
Topic 2

Business Intelligence Offerings

Topic 3

The Process and Business Case for Higher Level Service Offerings  – specific examples with perspectives on:

  • Governance Models
  • Skill Sets and Business Context Requirements
  • Automation/Standardization
  • Location / Sourcing
Topic 4

Planning for the Ongoing Evolution and Integration of Finance, Shared Services, and Global Business Services

The format used for the Forum encouraged a highly interactive discussion.  For each agenda topic, members provided case studies of their experience as a catalyst for an interactive discussion among attending Senior Executives.

These led to a lively and passionate exchange on the following issues:

  • The role (formal and informal) of Global Process Owners. Where best placed in the organization, what are their decision rights, and should we really call them “owners”?
  • What is the best road to attaining real global scale with global standards on global systems? Regional to Global, Functional to Integrated…?
  • The challenges of global standards and how to identify when service is denigrated by those standards – and what to do it about.
  • How to go beyond the “usual suspects” in Finance and Accounting Service offerings.
  • Master Data challenges of attempting to be the Business Planning and Analysis center of excellence.
  • Location and sourcing decisions and implications of building the skill sets required for advanced service offerings in BP&A.
  • Governance – who will actually make the decision that BP&A and decision support can/will move to Shared Services.

Some representative insights from the day’s discussions:

  • There is no opportunity for higher-level services, and definitely not BP&A, unless you excel at the “usual suspects” in the F&A scope.
  • Without clean and standardized master data, it is nearly impossible to provide consistent and reliable analytics.
  • Brand the information from your Business Intelligence Center. Make it “certified” quality that the organization knows is coming from reliable data sources, compiled, and analyzed within a strict compliance structure. All other sources become suspect as to how the information was prepared. Give it the “seal of approval”.
  • When done correctly, BI delivers “One single version of the truth” from a common trusted source to the entire enterprise and that’s incredibly valuable.
  • A big challenge of BP&A is to have knowledge of the business. With the proliferation of labor arbitrage and outsourcing, there are fewer opportunities to grow the knowledge from the ground up.
  • The goal is to have the option to be able to have the work done anywhere, by anyone, at any time.
  • Process standards are more invasive to the organization than accounting standards or system standards. It’s much harder to drive process compliance. We don’t help it by ordaining people as process “owners” when, in truth, they are influencers or facilitators.
  • Clear governance is critical for processes to evolve, services to migrate and sourcing decisions to be made. However, sometimes the decision rights aren’t properly communicated and/or accepted by the organization. Shared Service leaders have to have a strong communication and influence skill set.
  • Our services have broken functional barriers and we have formally gone end-to-end as an organization supported by common metrics and goals. The organization recognizes the E2E process management and governance structure. We have gone from fighting resistance to embracing a world of possibilities.  

The conversation continues in the Senior Executive research area within the Peeriosity website which features a section for the documents associated with in-person Forums, as well as iPolling, Peercasts, and shared documents exclusive for executives.

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

Peeriosity members are invited to login to www.Peeriosity.com [1] to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity and the Senior Executive offering included in the membership Click here [2].