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  • Writer's picture Withida (Dow) Marlow

Finance Shared Services Center: Fueling Efficiency for Multinational Companies

Finance Shared Services Center: Fueling Efficiency for Multinational Companies


In today's globalized business landscape, multinational companies are continually seeking innovative ways to optimize their operations and enhance their bottom line. One such strategic approach that has gained immense popularity is the adoption of Finance Shared Services Center. This dynamic concept involves centralizing financial functions to streamline processes and improve overall efficiency. The trend has gained traction due to its ability to replace the traditional approach of hiring separate accounting teams in every country where the company operates.

The Shift to Finance Shared Services Center: A Strategic Move

Finance Shared Services Center refers to the consolidation of various financial functions such as accounting, payroll, tax, and treasury into a centralized hub within or outside the organization. This consolidation not only reduces redundancy and operational costs but also enables companies to tap into specialized expertise. This shared services model has become indispensable for multinational corporations due to several compelling reasons:


  • Cost Savings: Operating a full accounting team in every country can be expensive due to varying labor costs and legal compliance requirements. Centralizing financial functions reduces overhead costs by economies of scale and streamlined processes.

  • Efficiency and Standardization: Centralization allows for the implementation of standardized processes and best practices across all locations, leading to increased efficiency and accuracy.

  • Access to Expertise: Finance Shared Services often house specialized professionals with deep knowledge of financial regulations, tax codes, and international compliance, ensuring adherence to local laws.

  • Better Resource Allocation: By pooling resources, companies can allocate their finance professionals strategically, focusing on higher-value tasks such as financial analysis, strategic planning, and risk management.

  • Enhanced Technology: Shared service centers are equipped with advanced financial technology systems that enable automation and digitization of processes, reducing the risk of errors.


  • Transition Challenges: The initial transition to a shared services model can be complex, requiring careful planning, training, and change management to ensure a smooth shift.

  • Cultural Differences: Different countries have distinct business cultures and regulations, which can pose challenges in standardizing processes across regions.

  • Communication: Centralization can lead to challenges in communication and coordination, especially when dealing with multiple time zones and languages.

A Personal Experience: Efficiency at ExxonMobil's Shared Service Center

Having worked at ExxonMobil's Finance Shared Service Center, I witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of centralizing financial functions. By consolidating accounting, payroll, and IT activities, the company achieved remarkable results:

Processes were standardized across global operations, mitigating the risk of errors and ensuring compliance with diverse regulations. The centralization of financial data improved visibility, enabling faster decision-making and strategic planning. The shared service center also allowed us to harness specialized skills, enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of complex financial operations.

Furthermore, the implementation of advanced technologies such as robotic process automation and data analytics propelled us toward a more streamlined, data-driven approach. While the initial transition required training and adaptation, the long-term benefits of cost savings, enhanced efficiency, and access to expertise far outweighed any challenges faced.

In conclusion, Finance Shared Services has emerged as a game-changing strategy for multinational companies looking to achieve operational excellence and financial agility. The model's advantages, including cost savings, standardization, and specialized expertise, make it an attractive alternative to maintaining separate accounting teams in every country. As the business landscape continues to evolve, the adoption of shared services will likely remain a pivotal choice for companies striving to excel in an increasingly interconnected world.


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