Intellectual capital: Optimising performance in SSC’s

In anticipation of the fast approaching SSC event due to take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on the 18th of January 2013, we are already beginning to see a number of interesting trends and practices developing regarding performance management in Sri Lankan shared service centres.

One issue that has been brought to our attention is that of young management accountants with unrealistic views about career progression, thinking that a management accountancy qualification provides a fast track route to CFO level.  However, the rates at which career progression can be achieved within SSC’s do not correspond to these expectations, resulting in high turnover rates.

In contrast to this situation, some organisations have moved services to remote villages after discovering that the women who reside there are content in basic process jobs and have no wish to progress.  Thus, turnover rates are low and these workers provide long-term staff for their employing organisations.

The two circumstances outlined above suggest how important it is to find staff with the right attitude towards the roles offered within SSC’s, an issue that we will hopefully gain further insight in to during the roundtable event.

Another notable talking point is the variation between organisations regarding their attitudes toward career progression and the procedures in place that reflect these, which include temporary international relocation and bonus schemes. 

Further performance management issues within SSC’s which we would like to delve further in to include the difficulties relating to specific roles, for example country-specific leaders, and language requirements of staff to name a few.

We hope that this has given you an introductory insight in to the present shared services landscape of Sri Lanka and has sparked your interest in the topic as much as it has ours.  We predict that the event on the 18th will be a thoroughly informative and interesting occasion for all. 

Please see the below information sheet for details of objectives, speakers and topics to be covered at the event.

Ian Herbert Participating in CIMA Expert Roundtable – 15th January 2013

Ian Herbert will be participating in a CIMA expert roundtable event in Malaysia on the 15th of January 2013.  The event is titled “Shared service centres ‘BUILDING TOMORROW’S TALENT’ An Asia Perspective”. 

The main discussion points at the event will concern: the future of finance, challenges and barriers of the transition to SSC’s, the implications of SSC work to the careers of management accountants, the skills agenda, and culture and behaviours.

Please see the link below for a briefing paper.

Roundtable briefing paper

Loughborough University Shared Services Team at 20th Anniversary of the Balanced Scorecard Event

Professor Robert Kaplan of Harvard University and Dr David Norton addressed a conference at Edinburgh University’s Playfair Library on 5th November 2012.

Their development of the balanced scorecard (a performance measurement framework) enabled non-financial measures to be incorporated into metrics and gave managers a more ‘balanced’ view of organisational performance. The ceremony coincided with the 20th anniversary of its development.

Three CIMA-funded research reports were presented that focussed on a different aspect of contemporary performance management. One of the reports was by Professor Lin Fitzgerald and Ian Herbert of Loughborough University, which focusses on their work on performance management in shared business services.

The event was part of CIMA’s ‘Kaplan and Norton: contemporary performance management’ series and the lectures will shortly be available to view as podcasts at

REVIEW: Loughborough-CIMA SSC Forum – 17th October, Loughborough University

The 11th CIMA-Loughborough Shared Service Centre forum was held recently at Loughborough University, to coincide with the launch of the Centre for Global Sourcing and Services

Said one participant: Both the launch of the Centre for Global Sourcing and Services and the SSC Forum were really positive and engaging events, characterised by knowledgeable people willing to share great insights and thinking – just the sort of events and programmes that I am sure will advance both academic research and industry practice in business services and sourcing.”

Organised by Ian Herbert, the October forum focused on marketing and branding of shared services, with executives from finance and HR business support services congregating at the School of Business and Economics to discuss how decision makers define and project the value proposition to the business.

Special guests Satish Paul and Justin Borradaile from KPMG gave their insight into these topics from a consultant’s perspective, stimulating engaging discussions between the attendees.

Paul Wickens, Chief Executive of Enterprise Shared Services, provided an informative case study into how shared services have been branded and marketed within the Civil Service in Northern Ireland.

Attendees were encouraged to share their ideas of best practice with the group, with a number of thought-provoking contributions from representatives of Rolls-Royce plc, Shell, Interfleet and MyCSP to name a few.

Following the next meeting in Wroclaw, Poland on 25th October there will be two meetings in January 2013: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Colombo, Sri Lanka.  The next UK forum will take place in February 2013.

Forum Agenda – 25th October – Wroclaw, Poland

 The SSC Research Team is pleased to announce the agenda for the 12th CIMA/Loughborough SSC Forum, taking place on the 25th October hosted by Hewlett Packard Global Business Services in Wroclaw, Poland.

The theme for the event will be: Marketing, Branding and Projecting the Shared Service Value Proposition.  See below for the agenda.

Poland Forum Agenda

The visit of the Forum to Poland presents a valuable opportunity for shared services professionals to compare the options of onshore vs offshore in one of the hotspots for European service location. A tour of a SSC facility will give an insight into how local skills are harnessed to provide services across a multi-national corporation. The objective is to create insights into how hybrid sourcing strategies and locations can be developed onshore and offshore.

Powering the knowledge-based economy: global goals, local logic – Interview with Thomson Reuters

According to IMF predictions, by 2030, 56 % of global GDP growth is expected to come from the emerging markets. Kellie Goldstein, CFO, global emerging markets, Thomson Reuters markets division, talks to Ian Herbert and Keshav Champawat of the Loughborough University Business School about why the key to success in emerging markets is balancing global and local dimensions – and matching talent with opportunity.

 Click here to read the interview with Kellie.

ANNOUNCEMENT – CIMA/Loughborough SSC Forum – 17th October, Loughborough University, School of Business and Economics

The SSC Research Team is pleased to announce the agenda for the 11th CIMA/Loughborough SSC Forum, taking place on the 17th October at Loughborough University, School of Business and Economics.

The theme for the event will be: Creating an Identity – Packaging the Value Proposition of the SSC.  See below for a draft agenda.

Loughborough Forum Agenda

The Forum brings together SSC decision makers from organisations that have previously attended such as: Network Rail, ITV, TalkTalk, Aggregate Industries, Shell, Unipart Rail, Department for Work and Pensions and many more.

Building on the latest research and SSC trends identified by CIMA and the Loughborough Research Team, attendees are placed at the cutting edge of SSC Developments. They are the first to hear of the new ideas that can be crucial to developing and continually improving their own SSC operations.

Given the forum is senior level, the discussion is unrivalled. A new feature of this forum will see opportunities for the attendees to each present a short, 5 minute ‘best practice’ example from their own business. This will ensure the variety of ideas that can be learnt and implemented will be vast.

There is no cost to attend – the forums have been growing each time with an agenda that is cutting edge, and created because it is what our attendees tell us they want to hear. We are confident this forum will continue its tradition of being highly beneficial and relevant to the work of its members.

To reserve your place, e-mail Kathleen McLoughlin at We look forward to seeing you in October.

Click here for an Autumn schedule of SSC Forum events


The Adventures of Bill and his Spreadsheets

The research team here at Loughborough have recently been looking at the issue of spreadsheets.  We know it is a hot issue amoungst many of you – are they as good and as useful as they are generally accepted to be or do they have problems that need a serious look to be taken? Read an except below and see if you can sympathise…

”Sunny Yip, Director of Operations for Delicious Products – Europe, has asked to see the CFO, Bill Davis. Sunny gets straight to the point and explains the issue that he’s had with one of Bill’s top accountants.

‘Two weeks ago I asked our business partner, Freda Pickles, to have a look at the cost of staff time and traveling that we are incurring in servicing one of our more troublesome customers, Bigfood. All I wanted to know was this. Should I lean on them for causing unnecessary costs (or at least an unfair share of our sales liaison budget) by constantly demanding that our sales people and our design team attend what are effectively their internal planning meetings?’                        

What I got, three weeks later, was a spreadsheet comprises of eight  different work sheets one of which had a graph comparing the total cost by month of car versus rail travel and a recommendation that our staff should use public transport whenever possible. WHATT!!!”

Through the adventures of Bill, our hero that’s just trying to get to grips with the output of his spreadsheets while pleasing his boss, we take our readers through some of the main issues that have been affected practioners most on this subject, in a hopefully humerous way! These articles will hopefully appeaer in an accounting publication soon, but in case they don’t, you can read them by clicking on the links below.

The Adventures of Bill – Acts 1 and 2

The Adventures of Bill – Act 3

The Adventures of Bill – Act 4