Out of 700+ respondents from five different regions - Ireland, UK, Central and Eastern Europe, Malaysia, Sub-Sahara Africa - the data showed their views were not dissimilar from others in different sectors of the profession. Overall we found that:
Finance professionals in shared services have equal ambitions to progress within the finance organisation, perhaps slightly more so than on average (80% expecting to get a more senior position in their next role)
While they expect their next move to be a promotion, more than half of them believe they will have to move outside of their current organisation to achieve this.
The next generation of professional accountants is aware that technology such as robotics process automation (RPA) and AI will have an impact on career opportunities, even more so in finance shared services. They however see innovation in finance as an opportunity to focus on higher value-added roles and responsibilities.
They perceive finance as a solid platform to long-term career prospects. They also see opportunities beyond the profession, into more general business roles, later on in their careers.
Progression and skills development are key drivers of younger generations. Where opportunities are perceived to be limited, there is a potential risk of tacit knowledge loss and talent deficit.
Closing the gap
These trends have implications for the shared service function. If the emerging talent is more transitory than previous generations, and looking to progress with new challenges at a faster rate, employers should ensure their development programmes match the career aspirations of this generation.
Building forward-thinking career paths which are fit for a transforming finance function globally is a major challenge. In shared services, as technology is redefining the very nature of global business services, getting the right talent in will become tougher.
The skills and capabilities that will be sought after going forward will be softer; customer-centricity, commercial acumen, data analysis and communicating insights. This shift means that finance professionals in shared services are well placed to become strong assets for the business.