The shared services model is built on the premise of ongoing scalability and efficiency. In addition to cost-saving capabilities, shared services and global capability centres can offer their organisations a strategic partnership.
This makes digital enablement and automation particularly relevant. Without the right software, shared services are limited in their potential to optimise and provide strategic business insight.
Are you automating processes enough to support your organisation’s growing book of business? With a focus on statutory reporting software, I will outline why shared services should make haste when it comes to implementation.
1. Centralised financial compliance
In some organisations, finance teams manually update global disclosure statements across the jurisdictions they operate in. The rise of shared services is revolutionising that, but many have still not opted to centralise these processes entirely.
Delaying centralisation can come at an invisible cost. We know that recurring operations built on manual and disparate processes increases the risk of errors. To balance efficiency and compliance in the last mile of financial reporting, centralisation is key. But on top of that, if you don’t have end-to-end automation, you are missing out on the benefits.
It is time to move away from multiple iterations and collating data from numerous sources dotted around the globe. Having a combination of content-enabled updates and automation empowers shared services to own the process. Automating financial compliance also unburdens local financial experts of producing statutory financial reports.
Tip: Look for a technology provider that offers content updates you can trust. Thomson Reuters’ shared services customers leverage expert disclosure templates powered by the “Big Four” accounting firms to comply with local rules. Language translation functionality should also be a given if you are aiming to move to the centralised statutory reporting model.
2. Deliver financial reporting accurately, and on time
Filing accurately and on time is a constant struggle for many finance departments. It is a long and arduous process that has a big margin for error. Timeliness keeps you on the right side of the financial regulators, but human capacity can only work so fast.
Shared services with fit-for-purpose software can significantly reduce the time it takes to produce, review and file financial reports. Specifically, automation enables capability centres to process substantial amounts of information and compile accurate reports.
Tip: Digital transformation is an ongoing journey for shared services as they mature. It is important to set realistic goals for your team and ensure that you are beating benchmarks and historical data. The intention is to keep the value curve going up at a sustainable pace. Communicate to your stakeholders how your financial reporting achievements have saved the business in dollars and hours.
3. Gift of time to reflect and develop insight
A 2021 report by Deloitte found that defining an organisational strategy and training staff are popular talent retention methods. I think even more can be done to attract and retain star talent.
With the “great resignation” impacting the corporate sector on a global scale, the intersection between people and technology is critical. When efficiency is taken care of by technology, your people are freed up to take on higher-level work.
When skilled professionals have the bandwidth to reflect and problem-solve, remarkable things can happen. From identifying growth opportunities, new process improvements or partnering with commercial stakeholders, there is much to be said for liberating time. As shared services staff expand their remit, they will transform from a service into a business partner.
Tip: Incentivise the creation of new process harmonisations in statutory reporting. Also, encourage your team to respond to requests from the business with insight, active listening, and alternative solutions.
Some leaders lament the effort and resources their shared services functions have put into implementing the software they already have. While it is important to get the most out of existing tech, shared services need to stay innovative. Any attachments they have towards “good enough” technology will only take them so far.
So, if your team is not set up to scale exponentially, you may have a problem. I would urge you to discover what statutory reporting software can do for you and your people. Share your vision with a Thomson Reuters consultant today, and we will help you go faster.