Companies have various approaches to implementing shared services but the common aim initially seems to include cutting costs, standardising and consolidating processes. It does seem however that the bar is constantly being raised, driven by today’s tough economic climate, in which cost-efficiency must be matched with agility and flexibility.
“A company is only as good as its financial processes, and CFO’s find themselves under growing pressure to deliver greater benefits to the company as a whole, particularly in today’s complex and volatile trading environment,” says Roenell van Zyl, a business analyst at professional services firm, Barnstone, which recently co-sponsored the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network’s Procure to Pay Africa 2012 conference.
“For many CFO’s, moving to the shared services model is an important first step in streamlining financial processes, reducing costs, gaining transparency and eliminating human error. But in order to complete the journey and achieve competitive advantage in today’s world, many need to realise still more value from their finance and accounting shared services centres. That’s where Trintech comes in.”
Van Zyl says that many CFO’s struggle to achieve the full benefits of a shared services centre because they remain constrained by a siloed view of financial processes, and cannot respond as quickly as they would like to market changes. Trintech’s Unity Suite Financial Software solves these and other problems by bolting onto the existing ERP solution to provide a holistic view. Trintech operates in the background, drawing data from the underlying ERP system and automate the financial process from inception of a transaction till the financial close.
“Trintech delivers value by identifying exceptions and, most importantly, assigning them to specific managers with a built-in escalation process,” says Van Zyl. “This means that unresolved journal issues that are rolled over into the subsequent year simply become a thing of the past.”
Because it bolts onto the existing ERP, Van Zyl notes, Trintech does not affect the normal transactions being performed in the normal course of business. Rather, it allows the company truly to benefit from standardisation and eliminate duplicated work by pulling everything into a single view—in the background and automatically. “With Trintech, companies do not need to take the step of outsourcing their processes in order to achieve the next level of benefits,” Van Zyl says. “They can do it themselves.”
The benefits of this approach are a very clean balance sheet and polished reporting based on a huge range of pre-existing templates. “Managers simply don’t have to worry about how to present reports, thus removing another blockage,” comments Van Zyl.
One of Trintech’s key benefits is the clear audit trail. Whereas the normal audit process relies on—and is hampered by—paper-based records, reconciliation processes can now be totally digitised. The solution also includes compliance with the applicable regulatory regimes, such as Sarbanes-Oxley or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
“With Trintech, the shared services centre can begin to deliver the accuracy and transparency that CFOs demand,” concludes Van Zyl. “It’s truly a way to take the finance and accounting shared services centre to the next level, and deliver true competitive advantage.”