The intelligent enterprise is one that is
globally effective in its operations, adaptive to change, innovative in its
approach to both opportunity and uncertainty, and well connected to the needs of
its stakeholders. Finance is poised to take the lead in helping the entire
enterprise become more intelligent by stewarding adoption of new business
practices that will help the company not just compete, but outcompete. The
future of Finance involves shaping a culture of innovation and creating a
flexible, adaptive enterprise capable of creatively dealing with challenges and
In The Future of the Finance Function webinar series, Genpact looks at the ways in
which Finance must reshape itself to meet the demands of the present and
Webcast 1: New Perspectives on the Role of Finance
The future role of Finance within the
enterprise is still being defined. Are the perspectives of Finance executives
and their customers the same as to what it should be? The Chartered Global
Management Accountant (CGMA), a new designation powered by CIMA and the AICPA,
set out to answer these questions in the first major survey of its type.
This first webinar looks at some key
results from this survey, presented by Shantanu Ghosh (SVP of Solutions,
Practices and Transitions), and Peter Simons, subject matter expert in the
applied research unit of CIMA’s education department:
- How the role of Finance is changing and the
services that a transformed Finance function might provide
- What services Finance actually provides to
- How Finance and their customers rate their
- How far Finance’s responsibilities might
- What constraints there might be on Finance
taking on a broader role
Access the entire webcast here
Webcast 2: Made to measure
Senior finance and procurement executives
of over 400 organizations worldwide were surveyed regarding performance on four
key financial processes: business planning, source to pay, order to cash and
financial reporting. This webcast, presented by Shantanu Ghosh, SVP of
Solutions, Practices and Transitions at Genpact and Sam Knox, Senior VP &
Director of Research, CFO Publishing, examines the findings and provides an
excellent peer-based assessment of companies’ performance in these core areas.
Hear from these CFOs regarding benchmarking
and improvement in finance and procurement processes, and their perspectives
- The importance of external benchmarks and
how to best leverage them to create a business case for change
- The roles of operational consolidation and
automation in better performance
- Strategic prioritization of initiatives
around process improvement
Access the entire webcast here
Webcast 3: Using the
Cloud to Unlock Working Capital
The days of heavy capital investments in IT
upgrades are nearly over. The future of Finance is being shaped by innovative,
cloud-based technologies powering a more intelligent Finance function and
freeing significant working capital for companies of every size and type.
In this webcast, you’ll hear from TTI, Inc,
a Berkshire Hathaway company, how they successfully managed to unlock working
capital, reduce enterprise risk and achieve higher productivity without making
large investments in expanding, installing or upgrading ERP systems. You’ll
- How smarter processes, better analytics,
and adaptive technologies are fueling a performance revolution
- How cloud-computing based technologies are
being used to shorten credit and dispute resolution cycles, accelerate cash
conversion cycles and reduce Days Past Due
- How to increase capacity by 20% or more
- How to achieve better accountability,
compliance and visibility into global operations
- How to lower upfront costs and achieve
“evergreen” applications effortlessly
Access the entire webcast here
Webcast 4: Transforming Finance: The AstraZeneca Journey to Best in Class
Upcoming: August 16, 2:00 p.m. EST
The future of Finance increasingly rests on the Finance function’s ability to
drive greater value across the entire enterprise. AstraZeneca, a leader in the
pharmaceutical industry, is well along in its transformation journey to
achieving its goal of a globally-managed Finance organization that is recognized
as the best in Pharma.
In this fourth and final webinar, you will hear directly from AstraZeneca about
the cultural and process changes that are driving a more intelligent Finance
Putting the focus on best practices and key business outcomes
Partnering to consolidate service delivery models that drive growth
Creating seamless operations across 3 in-house and 6 external delivery centers
Enabling Finance professionals to reach their true potential
Implementing a phased roadmap toward best in class
Access the entire webcast here
There is a new mandate for finance professionals: supporting long-term business success. They must help their enterprise become more intelligent by driving transformation that maintains flexibility and agility and drives new opportunity. Consequently, finance professionals are taking on a new and broader role that enables better decision-making and helps define strategic direction.
In their latest report, “New Skills, Existing Talents: The New Mandate for Finance Professionals in Supporting Long-Term Business Success”, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), a new designation powered by CIMA and the AICPA, surveyed over 2,000 professionals in both finance and non-finance roles across a broad range of industries to discover:
How has the role of finance function evolved within the enterprise?
What is expected from finance by its customers across the organization?
How can finance increase its efficiency to meet business needs?
The results offer fascinating insight into connections between business demands, finance’s level of responsibility, what finance delivers and the top level of performance.
Read the full report here
In two short interviews, Shantanu Ghosh, SVP Genpact Europe, and Chris Ling, Financial Controller at British Gas, share their views on the ongoing process of finance transformation.
Listen to them talk about:
- drivers behind the new trends in finance
- barriers finance professionals encounter and ways to overcome them
- new skill sets finance professionals need to acquire to become real business partners
Interview with Shantanu Gosh, SVP Genpact Europe
Interview with Chris Ling, Financial Controller at British Gas
Finance Enters the Age of Industrialized Business Services by Gianni Giacomelli
Today's volatile economy demands greater agility from business process operations. In this environment, businesses struggle to grow within established markets; they often seek out new and emerging markets to sustain revenue. And in order to do so, companies must operate both defensively to reduce costs in the face of new regulations and volatile materials prices, and offensively to gain traction in new markets and niches without losing control of operations.
To accomplish all this, the role of the operations leader -- be it COO, head of shared services, operations director within the line-of-business or finance and accounting function -- is becoming increasingly strategic. In essence, they are being called to create a business model innovation. This expanded responsibility requires a willingness to embrace changes that impact operational efficiency and effectiveness in three areas in particular: talent, technology and process management. By addressing these areas, a senior executive can effect a transformation capable of supporting "industrialized" business operations across a wide range of support functions.
Three Reasons for Rethinking Global Operations
While operations can take various forms -- for internal lines-of-business, shared services, operating centers, or global business services -- they all share a common trait: the operations department has traditionally been slow to react to change because it was typically optimized for scale rather than agility. This lack of agility is often the result of the company's focus on cost reductions rather than effectiveness and flexibility. But in a new macro environment, senior executives must rethink the key tenets of their global process delivery structure and take the following three factors into consideration:
1. The Human Factor: A global imbalance between demand for and the supply of skilled workers is growing. With experienced baby boomers retiring, some skills becoming obsolete, and others in increasingly short supply, the traditional office model is under pressure. Today's operations departments include more part-time, offshore and work-at-home resources, but training, managing, motivating and ensuring the compliance of these workers is challenging. Whether the need is for transactional, judgment-based, or data-driven work at the delivery or the management level, finding the right people in the right locations is becoming much harder.
These realities are already impacting an organization's ability to cost-effectively run specific support processes such as accounting, engineering design, and analytics. As job requirements change, HR departments must jettison any "business as usual" approach if they hope to find the right resources when and where they are needed.
2. Technology: Businesses have long invested their technology spending on implementing ERP systems and optimizing desktop computing. But times are changing. Bandwidth costs have halved every 30 months over the past 10 years. And screen resolution has doubled every 1.5 years, enabling the use of larger screens and tablets in both office and home. As a result, new cloud-based technologies are providing more affordable alternatives to ERP, especially for smaller enterprises and processes that were not well served by ERP, such as collections.
And companies are increasingly discovering the benefits of social technologies. Knowledge workers currently spend 28 hours per week searching for information, writing e-mails and collaborating internally. The consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates that harnessing social media technologies to enhance collaboration and information sharing could drive 20-25% productivity improvement.
3. Process: While technology is an enabler of operations effectiveness, technology alone cannot deliver business model innovation. Businesses benefit most when they deploy technology in standardized enterprise processes on a large scale.
To drive end-to-end efficiency and effectiveness, over 90% of finance and accounting operations use at least a partially shared delivery model. "Dematerializing" operations -- matching people to work, regardless of location -- has helped companies attain economies of scale, process optimization and cost arbitrage from industrialized operations. And increasing scale brings down unit costs: 10 times the scale can cut the cost of work by 50%. And standardizing processes enables this scale and greater productivity. Lack of standardization explains much of the variance between large companies that have benefited from scale and those that have not.
Driven in part by the technology and human factor trends, but also by an increasingly scientific understanding of operations processes, global business services (GBS) models are emerging. Capable of dematerializing the delivery of business processes, they have enabled the industrialization of business operations across many support functions. This drives not only greater efficiency, but more effective operations.
An example can be found in the finance department's time to report, which varies significantly between best-in-class and the lowest quartile. GBS drives standardization of policies and more productive operating frameworks that in turn leverage key metrics to produce faster cycle times and better business outcomes.
Where Operations is Headed
Many companies already have some form of shared services or operating center. We foresee that the trend toward implementing some form of GBS and industrialized operations will continue, in conjunction with corporate and line-of-business counterparts. However, even as businesses expand and refine existing operations, they will fall short of maximum potential if these models continue to use outdated technology and human resources practices.
As we have seen, communications constraints are rapidly being overcome, which means that future changes in allocation of work will be driven more by economies of scale, available skills, cost arbitrage and process optimization that drive better collaboration throughout the organization. And even though until recently ERP and its related workflows have largely governed operations, newer technologies enable changes that can produce the much-needed agility and speed required to capitalize on opportunity and accommodate work that does not fit into ERP's neatly-defined workflows.
Supporting collaboration will also be a major focus of future operations. Human beings instinctively want to communicate face to face. Operations must support visual contact and sharing so that all parties can see and interact with a document simultaneously -- a collaboration environment that makes people feel as if they were sitting side by side as they work. Operations must also be able to answer key questions such as: What is relevant to a specific person at this moment? How is the team doing? Can the system detect peer pressure or the effects of stress on team efforts? Does it provide mobile support for managers moving between work locations?
Implementing operations that support such fluid collaboration will be critical. Operations must facilitate productivity no matter how distant the workers. The optimal environment will also enhance team management, enable better performance reviews, and facilitate one-on-one interaction. This globally connected model will ensure better knowledge sharing, training and faster answers to questions. Ideally, the operations staff need not be in proximity to the team's location in order to troubleshoot or effectively run day-to-day operations.
Innovating for Growth and Agility
Industrialized business process operations are both the model of the future and achievable right now. Operations leaders must recognize the demands of a changing marketplace and evolving workforce and alter their operations to keep up. Rather than resist a globally distributed workforce, they can lower cost and enhance productivity and responsiveness by facilitating global collaboration.
An agile GBS model supported by modern technologies and scientific, standardized processes may very well be a key to continued competitiveness. The time has come for industrialized operations to be a discussion topic in many enterprise strategy conversations.
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