ACCA - The global body for professional accountants

Finance transformation

Finance transformation

Author details

Jamie Lyon

Name: Jamie Lyon

Role: Head of Corporate Sector

Organisation: ACCA

When finance functions incorporate shared services, new questions arise in relation to talent management outcomes.

Shared service models – no matter what their scope or how they are structured – can be a disruptive departure from the traditional, vertically integrated finance model. Finance tasks that were more tailored to an individual business unit are now standardised. Relationships that were physical become more virtual. Career paths that were obvious become more ambiguous. Geographic and cultural challenges may prevail.

ACCA undertook a global survey of talent practices in finance functions with shared service operations. The aim of the survey was to gather some simple data points on the adoption and effectiveness of talent practices across the end-to-end finance function from shared services to the retained finance function.

Over 1,200 organisations responded, with almost one third representing companies reporting over $3 billion in annual revenues. 15% of respondents were CFOs or finance directors.

The Key Findings

  • 72% of respondents said 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% of respondents who said they do have a talent management programme across the entire finance function, only 1/3 of these say their programmes are effective.
  • 79% of respondents agree that talent management is a highly important with on-going redesign of the finance function and adoption of shared service models
  • 71% of respondents confirmed there were no career paths between shared services and the rest of the finance function (the "retained" function).


  • There is a risk of knowledge silos developing across the finance function, with disparate finance operations operating in silo and no transfer of talent between different parts of the finance function
  • Inefficient approaches to talent development across the finance function with potential talent pools not being visible and being untapped
  • Increased potential for employee disengagement and poor retention of the best and brightest, and the risk of capability gaps with the finance function not developing and keeping hold of right capabilities
  • Undermining the development of the future finance leaders in a global finance function who need a breadth of skills and experience, and an understanding of both finance and the business.

Published: 28 Sep 2012