On a Monday morning, the Regional CFO wrapped up a 30-minute call with the finance manager in Thailand, discussing the aftermath of delayed payments to critical suppliers in the Thai market.
Shortly after an hour later, the Regional CFO received another urgent call from the stakeholder, expressing worries about suppliers contemplating cutting ties due to extended payment delays. It was discovered that in the Finance Shared Services Centre (FSSC), there are non-standardisation and lack of approval process for vendor payment method maintenance as the vendor payment method is not maintained in system. The manual effort in the team determined on different payment run cycles and this resulted in additional time spent on identification, leading to delays, potential inaccuracy, and reduced efficiency in payment processing.
This was a much longer call and it lasted 2.5 hours. Another main concern was raised from the stakeholders is there is insufficient clarity on the boundaries of roles & responsibilities between the Finance Shared Services Centre (FSSC) and the markets. It was recently discovered that there were multiple channels of receipt points of vendor invoices, the vendors invoices are not centralised within Automated Mailbox. This happened that invoices being sent directly to the AP generic mailbox may be overlooked and eventually not sent to the Automated Mailbox, therefore potential duplication in processing the same invoice if vendor sends an invoice to both the AP generic mailbox and it leading to potential delay in invoice processing and risk of duplicate processing & payment.
In a turn of events that seemed to compound the challenges of the day, the afternoon unfolded with unexpected news – the Head of Financial Shared Services expressed her intention to resign after a mere three months in the role. This abrupt announcement added a layer of complexity to an already tumultuous situation.
The Head of FSSC further heightened concerns by informing the Regional CFO that the FSSC team is grappling with overwhelming daily activities, exacerbated by a lack of clarity regarding roles and responsibilities. The absence of acknowledgment from stakeholders has contributed to a palpable sense of low morale within the team, and the imminent resignations looms large, with the current attrition rate standing at a worrisome 30%.
Amidst this unsettling scenario, addressing the root causes becomes paramount. The organization must swiftly engage in transparent communication to assuage the team's concerns and, concurrently, conduct a thorough examination of the existing structure to bring clarity to roles and responsibilities. Recognising the hard work of the FSSC team and fostering an environment of appreciation is essential to uplift morale.
Do these scenarios strike a chord with your organisations? Picture this: a company going through a rough patch because they're stuck with non-standardisation, lack of approval process for vendor payment method maintenance, not centralised within Automated Mailbox, manual ways of doing things, non-clarity of roles and responsibilities and etc. To compound the issue, they're also losing important people—the talented ones and key leaders. These problems are all connected, showing a big need for smart solutions. We've got to find better ways to run things and keep our best people happy in today's fast-changing business world.
However, having an experienced team who have been there, done that at the helm of such projects plays a pivotal role in foreseeing and mitigating unforeseen issues. Timing is critical, so we need to take the right actions at the right moments.