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Service providers finding long-term roles

A brand new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has found that shared service leaders are increasingly sticking with their role for the long term.

The study is in contrast to common perceptions about those in shared service roles and suggests that many are seeing the industry as one that can lead to a business career.

Asking executives to offer guidance on how shared service finance roles are used in business, the report revealed that many believe it is becoming an increasingly attractive career choice.

Jamie Lyon, head of corporate sector, ACCA, said a growth of sophistication in new finance operating models is leading to more finance leaders increasingly seeing time spent in shared services as a long-term development opportunity rather than career limiting.

He said they offer candidates a unique opportunity to broaden their capabilities and soft skills, which are increasingly desired by business.

The ACCA study found that the variety of roles on offer in shared services was a key reason why so many finance leaders are engaged or challenged by a job in this area, and don't necessarily see it as a stepping stone to something else.

Shared services are now seen as a strategic imperative and one that creates substantial business value, the report found.

It also revealed that people who have the most success in a shared services leadership role had strong financial skills, but that this wasn't always the case, suggesting that there is more than the traditional way of getting into the field.

This, as Mr Lyon explains, may develop yet further over the next few yeas as other advances change the demands of the sector.

He said: "Our findings suggest that technological innovation and the future application of automation and artificial intelligence is likely to further transform shared services and shape many of the skills most valued."

Most of the study's respondents (80 per cent) agreed or strongly agreed that technology will allow shared service professionals to focus on higher value-adding activity, ultimately ending the ‘finance factory’ reputation of shared services.