Shared service models are leading to a two-tier career pathway in the finance function. The retained team is still viewed as doing the ‘real’ finance work. The shared service is the servant delivering rules-based work.
Retained finance experience and careers are highly valued. The majority of finance professionals believe that SSO (shared service and outsourcing) jobs are ‘not equal’ in prestige.
Retained finance experience is necessary to progress, and is the pathway that aspiring CFOs follow.
Yet here is a contradiction. Finance shared services are perceived as a talent pool for the wider finance function. Value is placed on shared service experience, but there are rarely career pathways to tap into that talent.
Career paths broken
Despite the maturity of shared services models in the respondents’ organisations, it appears that career development strategies have not yet caught up. This is a missed opportunity for finance to create more value for the enterprise.
Many organisations have not established career paths that traverse the whole of finance. The result is limited career options and little ‘cross-pollination’ throughout the finance function.
The wide adoption of finance shared services could be a good news story for the business but less so for finance. The data suggests that staff nurtured and trained in finance shared services are having their eyes opened to opportunities beyond finance.
If the finance function does not adapt, it will find itself short of the critical talent required to both develop the business and manage risk.
Gen Y’s commitment
Traditional career expectations are not for this young generation. Young finance professionals see more career options with a finance qualification. So they do not necessarily make the same commitment to a finance career as previous generations. And the finance organisation seems confounded by their behaviour. It is unable to put in place the interventions that will attract, engage, develop and retain these future finance stars.
Graph showing attraction, engagement and retention of young finance professionals in finance shared services centres. 64% say "My finance SSC is struggling to retain young finance professionals."
"SSO is now truly institutionalised as a key component of the finance organisational construct. In short, there’s no going back; shared services are here to stay, and the implications on finance talent are substantial."
Joining the dots
If it fails to adapt the finance function could find itself short of the critical talent required to develop the business and manage risk.
The widespread adoption of shared services and outsourcing could be a much-needed wake up call for the finance function.
It is an opportunity to connect the dots between all finance roles.
Implementing shared services means examining what capabilities are necessary to deliver the greatest value to the enterprise.
It asks how to retain talent through training and develop templates for career success.
Most importantly it can unlock the code to make finance a career of choice for the thousands of young people globally.
The SSC brand could be championed as an integral part of the finance organisation.