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Shared Services and the Move to Document Work Processes Globally

Simplifying processes to eliminate unnecessary complexity and work steps has the greatest impact when the scope is across a large client base, spanning multiple business units and geographies.   With common systems and a global organization increasingly the norm, more companies are pushing to complete the puzzle by implementing common work processes that require standardization, with local statutory requirements as the only exception.

Recently, a Peeriosity member at a large global technology company created an iPollingTM question to better understand the shift to global work processes for members who had global operations.  Using Peeriosity’s patent-pending design, the poll results quickly populated real-time. Members at companies that completed the poll could then see how others responded and, using Peeriosity’s integrated Peer Mail system, contact peers for additional discussion and follow-up.

The poll results show that 71% of global companies have documented global processes, although only 25% have one standardized documented way to perform a process, with the other 46% having more than one.  Only 29% of global companies have minimal or no documented global processes.

ipolling results on company documented global processes that are followed

The follow-up question asked how extensively processes were documented globally, and whether or not the scope included all processes or only key processes.  At 59% of the companies, at minimum key processes are documented globally and, at 17% of the companies, all work processes have global documentation.

description of company processes documented globally ipolling results peeriosity

Here are some of the additional comments from Peeriosity members:

  • We have better standardization in our Shared Services, but overall the functional areas have various processes that might differ from sector to sector.
  • Our company strives for one standardized, documented way to perform a process as we implement the Oracle ERP system. Countries that have not yet implemented Oracle ERP may have their own process and documentation customized for their operation. Any standardized documentation created is written in English in addition to the primary language of the operation in each country.
  • While we do have one standard global process, there are exceptions for individual countries that are driven by statutory differences. 
  • An initiative to consolidate all documentation into a single, global, standard document is currently underway.
  • Certain key processes have high-level process maps globally, but we do not have personnel identified to support these efforts. We do have one instance of SAP, one chart of accounts, global written policies, and business practices, and some detailed desk procedures and work methods.  We also have extensively documented job aids for SAP activities.
  • We have undertaken a project to develop standardized global processes, but are early in the journey.
  • We are in the first few years of establishing global process owners for AR, AP, and Accounting/Reporting and have not yet standardized processes globally.
  • Our Financial Shared Services group has the most standardized approach. The other functions have different levels of documentation maturity. Process documentation itself also has different levels of maturity.  We don’t currently have good global cross-functional documentation that shows the relationships and linkages between activities in different functional areas that are part of an end-to-end process.
  • We are working to eliminate the variation that exists today.  In most cases, the differences are relatively small beyond those required for local statutory or tax reasons.

Are your Shared Services work processes documented globally? If yes (excluding local statutory requirements), are you moving towards implementing one standardized process?

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


 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated e-mail system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participate in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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