What is the shared services model and what does a shared services manager do?

In a shared services model, administrative functions that were once performed in separate divisions (and often in separate locations) such as finance, human resources and IT are united into a single, centralised location and overseen by a specialised shared service management function. Outsourcing involves engaging an external third party to perform this service. Companies usually employ one of these strategies in order to cut costs, increase efficiency or access better qualified talent

A shared services manager will oversee and manage teams across the shared service centre. They have overall responsibility for the delivery and performance of all allocated workstreams and transactional processes. Their role focuses on the co-ordination of the operations of the centre and they are accountable for ensuring that it achieves agreed service levels and compliance with established policies.

If the shared service centre is housed with an outsourcing provider, the shared services manager will also have responsibility for measuring and monitoring the performance of the provider and may be involved in assessing the commercial relationship with that third party.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Overseeing service delivery and the day-to-day operations of the unit, ensuring that all agreed service levels are met and procedures are followed.
  • Establishing priorities and schedules of main activities.
  • Overseeing the delivery of multi-disciplinary programmes, products, and services.
  • Reviewing and monitoring services to identify problem areas, reporting on risks, key performance indicators and proposed corrective action
  • Implementing new work methods and procedures.
  • Planning and monitoring staffing, overseeing recruitment and any other administrative functions related to the smooth functioning of the unit.
  • Supervising staff, managing performance, staff development, training and careers.
  • Overseeing and ensuring the smooth functioning of information systems required to deliver the services.

Why are they important?

Shared services managers achieve cost-efficiency because they centralise support functions such as HR, IT and finance that are used by multiple divisions of the same company and therefore avoid duplication of effort and achieve economies of scale. Likewise, outsourcing can help improve cost efficiency and service levels and outsourcing providers are also capable of handling high volumes of work efficiently. The implementation of either of these strategies will require significant capital outlay and strong management is critical if the function is to operate as designed and a return on investment be achieved.

Skills needed for this role

Managers will require excellent communication skills and extensive people management experience. They must also be proactive, with good attention to detail.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

There is no single most relevant Strategic Professional exam option for this particular role. You should therefore select those option exams which are the most appropriate for the specialist area you are interested in working in and/or the subject areas in which you have previously performed well in.

Career opportunities presented by this role

As more organisations look to achieve competitive advantage by creating shared service models or outsourcing certain functions, roles in this area are increasing. There are a variety of opportunities across many different industries and managers can progress to director/head roles.


High level competencies required include:

  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.


  • Governance, risk and control

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.

  • Leadership and management

    A. Applies appropriate leadership strategies to effectively deliver business objectives.

    B. Leads, motivates and manages people to optimise performance and effectiveness.

    C. Collaborates, supports and works to achieve the objectives of the organisation, applying appropriate digital technologies.

    D. Acts proactively and thinks strategically, in anticipating organisational needs, recognising the wider business environment and dynamics.



  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.

  • Strategy and innovation

    A. Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives.

    B. Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives.

    C. Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options.

    D. Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change.