17th CIMA-Loughborough Shared Services Forum – 26 September 2013, Balfour Beatty WorkSmart, Newcastle

1320423623_BalfourBeattyWorkSmartWe are delighted to announce that the 17th CIMA-Loughborough Shared Services Forum will be held on the 26th September 2013 at Balfour Beatty WorkSmart in Newcastle. The theme for the event is “Information systems, in the cloud, on the ground and at home?”. The forum will act as a perfect platform for discussions around subjects such as ‘SSCs and the cloud’, ‘intelligent data processing’ and ‘the automation of manual activities’ amongst others.

The main aim is to take on many of the requests we have had for topics around the application of IT systems in service centres and the need to make more intelligent use of information. This is one for the techies but it will also appeal to senior managers responsible for SSC data systems and security.


For more information please see the 17th CIMA-Loughborough Shared Services Forum agenda.

For any enquiries or to register your place at the event please contact Simon Pond at ssc-research-team@lboro.ac.uk or S.C.N.Pond@lboro.ac.uk.

School of Business and Economics



Spreadsheets Under the Spotlight – Management Science or Black Art?

Computer Tablet Showing a Spreadsheet - cooldesign

Ian Herbert, Deputy Director for the Centre for Global Sourcing and Services, Glynn Lowth, Visiting Fellow and Eliot Buckner, Management Sciences Student of Loughborough University, explore the inherent risks in spreadsheet usage today, for the Autumn 2013 edition of the Management Services Journal.

The article tackles some infamous issues with spreadsheets, the main change drivers for them and best practices in training, control and improved information systems.

Please CLICK HERE to access the article.

Professor Will Seal takes July CGSS brown bag seminar

Speech Bubble Business Strategy - KROMKRATHOGJuly saw the presentation of Will Seal and Ian Herbert’s ‘Actor-based management and captive shared services’ paper at another successful CGSS brown bag seminar. The seminar proved to be a great platform for insight into and discussion of the work; due to be presented at the 9th Management Control Research Conference at Nyenrode Business University, The Netherlands.

Title: ‘Actor-based management and captive shared services: a model for creative governance in the SME sector?’ Wednesday 24th July 2013 (12:30pm – 13:30pm) in BE.0.40 (School of Business and Economics) Lougborough University.

Abstract: The organisational context of the shared services organisation (SSO) has generally been the large, mature, often multi-national and multi-divisional corporation. The SSO is seen as part of a story of organisational change and service transformation via a process of corporate unbundling, as support services are taken out of the division and placed in SSOs. In contrast, the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) will struggle to provide sufficient scale or expertise for a single function service centre let alone a multi-function SSO. For many SMEs, support services are usually provided either via outsourcing or through some form of incubator model, this paper makes two claims to novelty, first, in terms of its empirical focus, it presents a longitudinal case study of how a small but growing service firm used the shared service concept as part of its growth and internationalisation strategy.

Secondly, in terms of its theoretical and methodological approach, the case is interpreted using an anchor-based methodology (Arbnor and Bjerke, 2009) drawing specifically on a pragmatic constructivist (PC) perspective (Nørreklit, et al., 2006; Nørreklit, 2011). The actor-based approach to organisational design has been portrayed as a method for discovering an nurturing models of creative governance that enable business growth and value creation (Nørreklit, 2011; Jakobsen et al., 2011).

This paper argues that the success of the case company in growing and capturing value may partly be attributed to the way that the company’s SSO model was aligned with its actor-based philosophy of management control. In short, it will be argued that the captive SSO in combination with actor-based management control principles can form part of a creative governance framework applicable in the SME sector (Nørreklit, 2011).



The rise and rise of shared-service centres is a revolution that’s going under the radar

Man with whiteboard - jscreationzs


Ian Herbert, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Financial Management, and Will Seal, Professor of Accounting and Management, discuss their research into shared-service centres for the July/August 2013 edition of CIMA’s Financial Management magazine.

Title: “The rise and rise of shared-service centres is a revolution that’s going under the radar”


Please follow the link below to access the article:

http://www.fm-magazine.com/pdfs/FM2013july.pdf – Page 14



JAOC Special Issue is ‘Pick of the Month’ for CPA Australia‏


Ian Herbert, Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Sourcing and Services, and Will Seal, Professor of Accounting and Management, feature in July’s Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change, named ‘Pick of the Month’ for CPA Australia. Their article “Shared service centres and the role of the finance function: Advancing the Iron Cage?” explores the concept of finance shared service centres (SSCs) through an interpretive case study based on a structuration in organizational fields framework; the implications for the finance function, in terms of how finance both drives change within the multi-divisional organisation and also is affected by change; and interprets the SSC phenomenon in the light of the Iron Cage analogy.


Please follow the links below to access the article and blogs:

(Please note that users will need to be a member of an institution with access rights to download the article without charge)





Fiona Lu presents at first CGSS brown bag seminar


The first in a series of seminars aimed to predominantly support PhD students affiliated with the Centre for Global Sourcing and Services (CGSS) and to raise interest in the group’s research. These seminars provide a friendly and constructive environment to present research and gather feedback and suggestions. The seminars will also feature presentations from other members of the CGSS and will hopefully provide a valuable development tool for papers and research.

Title: The Charging Method of Support Services Provided By Shared Service Centres.  Wednesday, 10th July 2013 (12:30pm -1:30pm) in BE.0.40 (School of Business and Economics), Loughborough University

Abstract:  In the current global economic environment, managers are looking for ways to reduce costs, enhance performance and gain competitive advantages. Since supporting service costs have been continuously increasing in proportion to total costs, the managers’ focus is reducing not only production costs but also support service costs. Some organisations choose third party outsourcers while others choose to set up their own shared service centre (SSC) which consolidate support service activities into one separate business unit. Delivering high quality service across varied client divisions’ requirements within a changing business environment is the core business process of SSCs. However, the challenge faced by SSCs is how to deliver this at an appropriate cost or at a competitive price.

The charging of services provided by SSCs goes beyond a pure cost allocation problem and with increased service transparency and a greater demand for customised services, a more differentiated pricing method is required. Appropriate and efficient charging methods could drive best practice, change the service mix and thus improve organisational performance.

This literature research investigating the charging method chosen by different SSCs could start from theoretical origins. Drawing on work by Chandler (1962), Williamson (1975, 1979, 1985) and Eccles (1985), I set out the charging of support services provided by shared service centres from M-Form organisations, transaction costs economics and transfer pricing perspectives.

Financial directors want a ‘challenge’ from accountants

BusinessmanIan Herbert, Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Sourcing and Services, teamed up with Anil Swarup, Director of SKS Business Services, to discuss the results of a recent survey which looked at the most important factors financial directors cited when choosing an accounting firm.

Follow the links below to see their commentary.







Shared Service Centre Annual Forum – 16th May 2013, Loughborough University

We are pleased to announce that the next CIMA-Loughborough SSC forum will be returning to Loughborough University for its 16th meeting and annual conference.  The theme for this event will be “Transformation of the Finance Function Through New Business Models”. 

For further details please see the 16th May forum announcement and agenda

For any enquiries or to book your place please contact Kathleen McLoughlin at ssc-research-team@lboro.ac.uk.School of Business and Economics

SSCs in Sri Lanka – CIMA Knowledge Fast Forward

In January 2013 the SSC reseach team was in Sri Lanka exploring SSC developments in the country.  Whilst there, Ian Herbert attaended an event: Intellectual capital: optimising performance in SSCs, which was jointly organised by CIMA, SLASSCOM and Loughborough University.  The article below, apprearing in the Sunday Times Sri Lanka, gives an outline of this successful event.


Andrew Rothwell to present at Universities UK conference

 Dr Andrew Rothwell, Research Associate, has been invited to present at the Universities UK second annual conference on Efficiency in Higher Education. His presentation: “Panacea or Problem: Reflections from a Decade of Shared Services Research” will consider the drivers for the adoption of Shared Services in UK Higher Education Institutions, and the benefits and pitfalls that have been encountered by the Shared Services Research Group’s case study organisations on their transformation journey.     

 Please see the link below for more information on the event.