We believe that more companies will make use of outside providers in some way to solve their GCR challenges.
Summary: Successful companies are developing new ways of partnering with outside providers to ensure that key skill sets are available in-house, while the expertise, know-how and scale of the outside provider is accessed where appropriate.
Many companies surveyed have outsourced some of their GCR processes or intend to. Companies that are using outside service providers for one or more GCR processes have found it effective in achieving many key elements of efficiency, control and value.
Some of the benefits companies derive from effective use of outside providers include:
Cost-effective and flexible access to specialist skills
A company may not require specialist skills full time, or be able to afford the continuous training and close attention to the moves of regulators and tax authorities necessary to remain current. By working with a qualified outside provider, a company can obtain the skills it needs when it needs them.
Broader access to leading practices
A single company may be able to share its own leading practices across business units. However, outside providers with multinational scale have access to a broader reservoir of leading practice approaches to core activities.
Enable focus on value
Companies increasingly are looking to shift the focus of their in-house resources — even SSC resources — to higher-value activities. In this context, some companies do not view the GCR processes as the best use of their limited in-house resources.
Should the pace of business accelerate — by organic means or acquisition — an outside provider is more likely to be staffed to handle the change in volume or requirements quickly and efficiently.
In practice, most companies find that the best solution to meet GCR needs is a mix of local, regional and global resources, both internal and external, as illustrated in the accompanying case study.
Case study: Leveraging an array of external providers
A global Fortune 500 company has undergone an extensive finance transformation covering approximately 100 countries.
Its new finance operating model incorporates formal teaming with two global service providers. One provider is a leading business process outsourcing (BPO) company that operates global and regional SSCs.
It provides services like:
Finance transaction processing
The other provider is a global accounting and tax firm that delivers GCR services, including statutory accounting and reporting, income and indirect tax compliance for close to 80 countries. This combination leverages the complementary skills, expertise and infrastructure available through each provider.
To ensure that the tripartite relationship is built on a robust foundation, there is a clear governance framework, scope of services and operational protocols. There are also clear three-way service level agreements (SLAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) between the company and the providers. These help ensure quality information and audit trails at key data hand-off points.
This in turn helps support efficient and effective GCR processes, such as GAAP conversion, reconciliations and return preparation. This integrated approach to the financial supply chain is an example of an innovative and leading approach to GCR.
Leading companies today are procuring some or all of their GCR services on a regional or global basis.
Just as companies are finding benefit in regionalizing and standardizing their in-house finance functions, they are taking a similar approach to the procurement of GCR service providers.
Often, this means replacing a patchwork of local service providers with a globally or regionally engaged provider to meet their GCR needs. Our experience indicates that companies are increasingly leveraging in-house procurement experts to achieve a greater level of quality and consistency in the service they receive.
This is often done through the adoption of contracts that cover multiple countries and through the adoption of global SLAs.
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