Is a shared service centre right for your business?


Creating a shared service centre is not for every business often the initial aim is to drive down costs and create efficiencies. But implementing a shared service centre can take time, planning and upfront investment.

Because of this, the business needs to consider how viable implementing a shared service centre really is and both the extent and scope of the potential benefits on offer. We explore some of main considerations for employers.


Is similar or identical work performed across a variety of functions across the business? Often business division across various locations will have departments carrying out tasks on a local level and there is a clear duplication of process and/or work. Where this is the case, there is a clear potential for efficiency savings.

A problem shared…

The needs of different business units and customers are often very similar, with management typically able to identify common problems and difficulties. Shared service centres provide an obvious opportunity to maximise capacity and merge problems and skills to improve overall quality, while at the same time reducing costs. 

Opportunity for automation

Certain support functions are responsible for tasks that are extremely repetitive. Where this is the case, automation or a more centralised approach can improve efficiency. For example, invoicing procedures obviously lends itself to this. 

Shared service centre opportunities are most obvious when there are common demands across the business. Not all businesses or business functions are suitable - for example a process that requires a number of bespoke local requirements with a relationship focus would not be appropriate.

Is the discipline appropriate?

The shared service centre operates as a business with its own service level agreements that are focused on driving down costs and improving performance. Businesses that implement a shared service centre often focus on creating a knowledge centre that is a specialist within its area rather than having multiple smaller functions that with similar responsibilities across the business. Shared service centres provide an obvious opportunity to maximise capacity and merge problems and skills to improve overall quality

As a result, divisions typically considered as appropriate for a shared service centre include finance (particularly transactional level finance), human resources, IT and legal. 

If you would like to talk to a local shared services expert for advice then contact at Robert Walters on 0121 281 5000

Birmingham & Midlands
Shared Service Forum

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