Talent management in the shared services world 'ineffective', finds ACCA | ACCA Global
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Many respondents recognise that talent management in the finance function really is a business imperative.
—Jamie Lyon, Head of Corporate Sector, ACCA

Global survey to be launched at Deloitte's annual European Shared Services Conference

The adoption and effectiveness of talent management practices across the finance function - from shared services to the retained finance function - is patchy and inconsistent, finds ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) today in a global survey of finance functions, called Talent management in a shared services world: 2012 survey.

Surveying 1,200 organisations, with one third representing companies reporting more than $3 billion in annual revenues, the research shows that 72 per cent of respondents say they do not implement talent management programmes across the entire function, or admit that they are not aware of such programmes existing.

Of the remaining 28 per cent of respondents who said they do have a talent management programme across the entire finance function, only one third of these say their programmes are effective.

ACCA's survey is launched at Deloitte's Annual Shared Services and Business Process Outsourcing Conference 2012, in Cannes, France, from 26-27 September 2012.

Jamie Lyon, head of corporate sector at ACCA, who commissioned the research, will be sharing the findings at Deloitte's global conference and comments: "The findings are startling and show a need for change. Many respondents recognise that talent management in the finance function really is a business imperative, particularly with the advent of changing finance operating models, and the growth of shared services and business services models.  However, the reality is that only a minority of finance functions have effective, consistent joined-up programmes across the entire function."

Sally Fisher, partner in Deloitte's Finance Transformation practice, says: "The survey findings confirm our own experience that implementing successful talent management consistently across a global finance function is hard to achieve, but is in demand from finance teams. There is significant business benefit from getting it right, for example reduced attrition, greater business knowledge and insight, finance driving and protecting value in the business in a more pro-active way, more effective partnering between Shared Services and retained Finance. The capability development solutions that are most valued are those that rely on local engagement and commitment, such as mentoring, coaching and stretch assignments, which are often those development initiatives that receive the least investment. So one of the interesting findings of the report is that finance leaders need to invest more in making the day to day work experience a development experience for their people."

Other key findings show that:

  • 79 per cent of respondents said talent management was important
  • 66 per cent of respondents said their talent management programmes were "not very effective"
  • 71 per cent confirmed there are no defined career paths across finance

Jamie Lyon adds: "When we think about optimising the finance function, it really comes down to four key areas of focus  - establishing an appropriate finance organisational framework, getting the right technology in place, streamlining and standardising finance processes and of course, critically getting the people capability development piece right."

The report highlights the consequences of ineffective talent management delivery, from challenges with staff motivation, poor talent recruitment and retention, as well as the risk of finance silos developing, the existence of disparate finance cultures and poor mobility of talented people across the finance organisation. The report also implies that cost effectiveness will be sub-optimal as strong talent pools of people are not tapped into.

Jamie Lyon concludes: "To be successful, global talent management practices must be adopted locally and made to work. They also must become more effective and attuned to the needs of the global finance function that enable professionals to pursue careers across the function and beyond. Otherwise, how can finance develop the capabilities needed of global leaders in the future? This is about breadth of exposure to develop the requisite skills and capabilities. Surely we can expect some future CFOs to start their finance careers in a shared services or global business services environment and then want to progress through the finance organisation? They should have the right support frameworks in place to do this."

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For more information, please contact:

Alana Sinnen, ACCA Newsroom
+ 44 (0) 207 059 5807
+44 (0) 7715 812120
alana.sinnen@accaglobal.com

Notes to Editors

  1. Over 1,200 finance functions with shared service centres responded to ACCA’s survey - the report can be found at Related Links at the top of this page.
  2. Deloitte's Annual European Shared Services and Business Process Outsourcing Conference has, over the last 10 years, become the forum for senior finance and business services executives to learn, network with peers and refine their shared services and BPO strategies. It is typically attended by over 600 executives from the biggest businesses across Europe.
  3. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
  4. We support our 154,000 members and 432,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
  5. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.