Shared Services for Shared Success
by Lynton Williams, Head of A&F Credit Services, GSS, Siemens plc, UK
Building our business with the highest levels of efficiency, performance and ethics is critical to the way that we work at Siemens. As Peter Löscher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG emphasised in our annual report,
“Being a responsible company – this is what our foundation was built on, this is a core element of our values. Highest performance with highest ethics.”
This approach informs everything that we do, in the way that we interact with customers, suppliers, employees and the wider community. An essential means through which we achieve our performance and compliance objectives is through our Global Shared Services (GSS) group, which provides group-wide services in back office and financial processing to reduce business unit costs, create economies of scale and introduce consistent processing efficiency and control. Its activities include HR (payroll, pensions, recruitment and other HR support services), travel management, insurance, fleet, recruitment, order to cash (OTC) including cash allocation and credit services, purchase to pay, other accounting services and business process excellence
Our OTC function has undergone considerable evolution in recent years. First established in 1997 as a Service Line within a newly created Shared Services division in Siemens UK, we initially centralised accounts receivable (cash allocation), together with credit risk management and master data into one location in southern England, while credit control was co-located with key UK businesses in four other locations. In 2000, accounts receivable was relocated to the north of England, followed in 2003 by a move to Prague, Czech Republic. A small credit control representation was then also moved to Prague a year later. In 2007, as part of a major transformation project, accounts receivable and master data management was moved to Bangalore, India and credit control was centralised in one location in the North West, UK and the small Prague operation returned to the UK as part of this centralisation. The credit risk management team was then also moved to this same location.