Thinking

Here you’ll find our opinions, viewpoints and rants. But don’t forget to add your comments – good or bad – on anything you like or loathe. We value your feedback.

The Great Remote Working Conundrum: Be Careful What You Wish For
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As countries went into lockdown, office workers and non-essential workers across the world flocked home, with varying levels of preparation, with no knowledge of how long this new phase of enforced isolation would last. Makeshift desks popped up on kitchen tables, beds in rented rooms, and if the weather or wifi allowed, garden furniture.… Read More

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Is GBS Ready to Weather the Post COVID Storm?
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For over three months now, COVID-19 has been our one and only focus. It’s impact on our businesses, people, cash flow and future plans have dictated our everyday lives since early March. Yet, there is a bigger picture still; a substantial recession is predicted.… Read More

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How Starbucks “Cleaned House” in Financial Controls
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Managing financial controls effectively is no walk in the park. Global organizations struggle to ensure that financial controls are defined, monitored and managed effectively across end-to-end processes, functions, regions and operating units.

Due to the obvious impact of audit opinion on financial control effectiveness, especially under regulatory umbrellas such as Sarbanes-Oxley, many organizations are in a vicious cycle of reactive fire-fighting rather than focusing their efforts on managing the process proactively.… Read More

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How to Ensure that Operational Culture Does Not “Eat Your IT Strategy” For Breakfast
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When we talk about digital transformation, we all have different ideas of how to achieve what can be considered the impossible. And whilst nowadays better, faster and accurate data is helped by the new technology architectures, what sets apart those who achieve transformation success, comes down to good strategy, leadership and execution.… Read More

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The GBS “P&L Boost” and the Route to Fitness
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Let’s talk about cash. “Cash is King” right now and top of mind for all CFOs and Controllers. In the current environment, P&Ls are fragile things too!

On May 21st we hosted a webcast with Gary Steadman, Head of Business Services at ABP (Associated British Ports).… Read More

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Crisis Response Heightens “Human Factors” Risk Awareness
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If you haven’t noticed yet, the current crisis has created a wealth of opportunity for fraudsters and other ne’er-do-wells.

Every finance, shared services and GBS executive I have talked to since the start of the crisis has reported a much higher rate of fraud attempts and over the past several weeks, reports of cyberattacks have increased at a rate of three to five times compared to pre-Covid.… Read More

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McKinsey Research Sends Global Business Services to the Front Lines
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Despite the fact that Global Business Services and Shared Services were originally constructed to drive cost savings through centralization and standardization, there is growing evidence that the case for action is no longer purely cost reduction.

Our own research with GBS and Shared Services leaders shows the tension between the business outcomes DEMANDED by executive management and the aspirations of the GBS leadership themselves.… Read More

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Highlights from the Shared Services Leaders Summit in Atlanta 2019
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I recently spoke at and attended the very insightful North American Shared Services Leaders’ Summit in Atlanta. Once again, I learned a lot, met some inspiring people, shared experiences, laughed, and paused for thought.

It was a privilege to speak on Day 1, and the positive collective feedback was gratefully received.… Read More

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Keys to Success with Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)
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I think this image says so much about decision making, risk management and performance. The ocean race, or business or life, is not about “avoiding risk” but managing it. We can’t always choose the weather, but we need to make best decisions to navigate the prevailing conditions to reach our objectives in the fastest time (lowest cost) achievable whilst keeping safely within the parameters we set.… Read More

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Buzzword Bingo: The Cloud Confusion Game
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Whether you are a leader in Finance, Shared Services, IT, Risk management, Audit or Compliance, the promise of everything getting simpler has become a haunting concept. It’s not just the general promise of technology, it goes far beyond that to the principles of business functions and as always, the devil is in the detail…

Experience tell us things are never as good as promised or as bad as we feared.… Read More

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