Finance Transformation: Key Facts To Compare Your Operation

1. Employee Costs

I have been amazed by the strength of the business cases for the F&A outsourcing deals I’ve led over the last few years. A number of things have happened to make them look so good.

First, the suppliers have really got their acts into gear. They provide clear, all inclusive pricing that makes a comparison very clear.

The market is not fully comfortable with transaction based pricing, but that is as much the issue of the Buyers as the Supplier. At an FTE/employee basis, the comparison is a lot easier for everyone, given the level of data required to price at a transaction level.

Second, what has happened on the Buyer side of things is that Shared Service Centers have experienced wage creep over the years, sometimes adding 1-2 layers of operation. Most Shared Service Centers have countered this in part by improved productivity, but this has not matched the similar gains made by the outsourcers.

Combined, these facts make the business case strong for most F&A outsourcing projects.

Key Fact 1. The average, fully laden cost of an outsourced finance team member is $34,000/£22,000 per year. This is the fully loaded cost, of staff who are fully trained, including all overheads and leadership costs.

From any Shared Service Centre I’ve seen in the US, UK and Europe, those are pretty much entry level salaries, regardless of all the additional employment taxes, operating costs, and management costs attached to every position.

These numbers translate into a very strong business case, and it is the main reason why CFOs push for a deeper investigation.

2. Amounts At Risk

Is your Shared Services Operation willing to risk its own money to underwrite delivery levels? Away from financially-based business cases, this is the most under-valued differentiator between an internal delivery model and an outsourced delivery model.

I have not yet seen an internal delivery model that creates any alternative to this. Yes, I’ve seen bonuses unpaid due to performance issues, but nothing that repays the business for failings that have impacted their own performance.

The chasm between the Internal and External model is only going to widen further as the Outsource Suppliers choose to adopt targets for business-critical areas such as Days Sales Outstanding. Failure there has a lot greater impact than in something like Customer Support, but it is an area that the Suppliers are stepping up to the mark on.

Key Fact 2. On a monthly basis, will the Shared Service team offer, from their own funds, rebates to the business of up to 15% of the cost of the services they deliver? While the exact amount at risk will vary between suppliers, they will offer significant discounts where service levels are not met. It is essential to note that a well constructed contract will lead to constantly improving service levels, so the bar will be raised quarterly, if not monthly.

3. The Cost Of Transformation

For many years, the outsourcers played a cost-only card. Regardless of whether the delivery was onshore or offshore, it was relatively easy to offer lower costs than most internal organizations. Come 2012 (and probably since 2010) the value proposition has moved on significantly.

Now the Suppliers come with a toolset – technology, people, and methodology – that drives “Big T” Transformation and “Little t” transformation. “Little t” brings the day-to-day change; “Big T” brings the headline-grabbing changes. Often this gives access to changes that were unlikely to be funded in any other way.

As an example, the biggest area of opportunity is in leveraging the Supplier’s investment in technology. One client had recently expected to invest a minimum of $500,000 to implement a automated reconciliation tool. Getting approval for that spend had taken almost 12 months, and was high on the list of programs that was likely to be cut from the Investment Plan. So delivering it at all was highly unlikely.

The deal that they were able to strike with the Supplier delivered their operational tools and also embedded it in the pricing, removing the road-bump that was preventing access to the improved, automated process.

To be honest, some of the home-built technology are not the prettiest of things, but they come at a price and an operational improvement that will make you focus on the value they drive, not how they look. Other suppliers, however, have bought third party technology companies that come with world class technologies that will be as good as or better than the ERP competitors.

Key Fact 3. You can work to build an outsourcing deal and delivery model that cuts the investment that you have to make to address key, process-improving projects.

Key Fact 3a. Please note – I always emphasise to clients that they still need to invest in their service going forward. It is a myth that all investment goes away, but you can certainly be creative in how to get the best service quality and a pricing structure that helps the Buyer and Supplier.

4. “Flash To Bang”

When referring to Flash to Bang” I mean the time between taking the decision to move to a new delivery model and reaching optimum delivery and efficiency levels in the chosen model.

One of the “Lost Costs” that we dwell on in projects is the time difference between a “build yourself” option and a “buy it in” option. Like most things that we choose to do ourselves, timescales are more fluid than those that are commercially underwritten. Having an outside party responsible for delivery does not guarantee success and we can all share horror stories about projects that have gone wrong. However, the penalties attached to failure are a lot more transparent when external parties are involved.

Where the greatest impact is felt is in the time it takes to reach optimum delivery/efficiency levels. As an example look at a greenfield environment, where nothing has been centralized. Given a standing start, an internal Shared Services Center will take around 6 months longer just to be established. At that stage the Outsourced model will have been operating at full efficiency levels for 6 months. There is a clear opportunity cost within that.

Key Fact 4. Commercially contracted projects are 75% more likely to deliver on time, and nearly 100% of them are promised to be delivered sooner than any internal, equivalent project. The financial impact of this is hard to generalize about, but having a project completed sooner, leads to benefits earlier.

5. Staff Skills – what percentage of your staff are Six Sigma Trained?

The growth of Six Sigma training within the workplace has been impressive over the last 10 years. For many organizations there will be some staff with these skills, though further investment is always dependent upon the budget being available. The question – and the opportunity – is what percentage of your staff have this kind of training. More prescient, it is also worth asking how frequently their skills are drawn on.

One of the revelations of site visits to the Outsourcers is the sheer passion that the delivery teams bring to every client. The prospective clients who take floor walks of existing operations always comment on the drive, engagement, and hard, proven business improvement case studies that are discussed on the tours.

Really what the outsourcers are doing is encouraging their staff to cut their customers’ costs. While that will lead to short term revenue losses to the Outsourcer, they bank on the fact that it will lead to even more work in the future. From most deals I’ve seen this is exactly what has resulted.

Key Fact 5. For most specialists in Finance Outsourcing, almost 100% of their delivery staff will have some kind of Six Sigma or Lean training. More importantly, they will be incentivized and rewarded to identify and implement projects on a daily basis. For even the basic online Six Sigma training, $2000 per person is a starting point – that is investment that you no longer have t make. Outsourcing gives you access to a skills base that has made that investment already.

6. The Price of Flexibility

Often the feeling of Outsourcing is that it is “More For Less”. Taking almost a Supply Chain approach to meeting your future delivery needs means you have to ask the following questions:

How much will it cost to reduce delivery capacity?
What fixed costs will you be left with, even after reducing headcount?
What will the cost be of increasing capacity, whether to deal with an acquisition or just increased volumes?
How quickly can you get the headcount sign off to increase volumes?
What are the onboarding costs (e.g. recruitment, training etc) of adding new staff?
What is the time between recognising the need for increased volumes and having the resources in place to deliver them?

In the modern employment world, temporary resources can give much upside flexibility. Employed for longer, they can also provide the downside flexibility. Until then, they come at a premium that will blow the $34,000/£22,000 fully loaded cost comparison out of the water.

From a 2012-2017 planning perspective I always challenge clients to map out the widest possible range of events that could impact their business. We then carry out an exercise to ensure that their delivery operations – whether insourced or outsourced – are able to address those scenarios at a cost and speed that is proximate to the event.

This is all based on a lot of tough learnings from the last four years. One client, who I recently advised on renegotiating their arrangement, had only factored in upward growth in their contracted volumes. The concept of their business shrinking had seemed alien when negotiating their first arrangement in 2007. Their new contract takes as its starting point the need for a delivery model that adapts operationally and commercially to all future volume scenarios.

Within the certainty of zero or low economic growth, it is the strategic attraction of outsourcing that should provide confidence. Suppliers should be able to react to upturns in your volumes within a matter of weeks. Most events causing this can be foreseen and planned via the normal Service Management procedures.

Planned reductions in volumes can occur on a timeline determined by the client. Unplanned reductions may take 8 or more weeks to filter through to the monthly invoice. Suppliers take differing views on how they recoup their investment in deals, so scenario planning should be taken early on with the down-selected Suppliers.

Key Fact 6. Suppliers offer a significantly more flexible delivery model than any internal function can offer. They have the ability to bring on resources faster, at a lower cost, and reaching a faster level of efficiency than an internal delivery model. With proper account planning they also offer a model that more easily “breathes in, breathes out” to match actual business volumes.

Key Fact 6a. I always warn clients that they are investing in their Supplier, so losing key resources when volumes shrink is a risk. However, the knowledge in an outsourced environment will be more heavily documented and captured in an educational process that can deal with both natural and forced attrition.

7. When Did You Set Up Your Shared Services Operation?

The most common determinant affecting the strength of the Outsourcing business case is the age of the operation. It is worth looking at the business case for any Shared Service Center set up before 2009. The older it is, my experience is that the better the business case is.

A number of the points raised above drive this. Typically, the last serious comparison between outsourcing and insourcing, whether a Benchmark study or a full blown assessment, will have been done several years ago. Since then, limited spending on benchmarking and consulting has reduced the focus on the external world and increased it on the internal operations.

It is worth dusting off those old Shared Service Center business plans. When organizations set up Shared Service Centers in the 1990s and through to the late 2000s, most paid lip service to Outsourcing. It was usually mentioned as a likely future option, but that they would be able to deliver most of the savings internally, by themselves, via Shared Services.

Fast forward to 2012 and I can honestly say that every client I’ve had in the last 2 years has been shocked at the strength of their business case for Finance Outsourcing, even after years of operating a SSC environment.

In the “new normal” world of zero or low economic growth, and with little investment available for back office services, Finance Departments are now taking a fresh and more sophisticated look at what Outsourcing can deliver.

How to Transform Our Financial and Monetary World

Indeed money is a huge topic in today’s time. Having been in the business of money and finances throughout my ‘worldly’ career’, I can sing a few tunes concerning this topic. Long before the 2000 crash I had realized that the systems and structures we created individually as well as globally were not viable and sustainable and would have to be replaced with new ones. I left Germany and the financial world and moved to New York, the global hub of finances, in order to assist in this process of economic and financial transformation.

Immediately behind personal transformation, money and finances is actually my favorite topic. Because the collapse of our present financial, socio-economic and environmental structures and systems is no longer just about markets correcting themselves or catching a few ‘thieves’. Instead, it is about human transformation and evolution! It presents us with the great opportunity to transform ourselves and our environment. And this, has very little to do with money or finances but a lot with our perceptions, beliefs and the way we view and treat each other and our environment. Who we are affects every aspect of our daily life from relationships and career to monetary and financial matters.

Therefore, I recommend a program called “Self-Transformation through Self-Realization” based on the teachings of a group of (American) Indian Spirit Guides which helps us to discover WHO we are in Truth, WHAT our inherent core (survival) fears are (based on our pre-birth arrangement) and what defense mechanisms we have developed in our early childhood to cope with these fears. The teachings are very self-transformative and powerful.

The time for change and transformation is now! We are all inhabiting this very same planet at the same time, however, we do live in different realities. Depending what reality one lives in, one conducts oneself, one’s career, relationships as well as financial and money matters either in the old or the new paradigm.

Diana Caughell is founder and president of NuLifeTraining4U, a company dedicated to empowering clients to live a healthy, happy and successful life. Additionally to her spiritual trainings and education, Diana draws upon her management, marketing, and financial expertise to help clients achieve permanent sustainable personal and professional success. Diana teaches proven, practical mental and spiritual power tools for dealing with every-day challenges in career, relationships or personal life in a more efficient and powerful way. She works with individuals and companies, gives workshops and speaks on topics of personal growth and development, human transformation and evolution.

THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET

The Forex market is the place banks, organizations, governments, investors and traders come back to exchange and guess on monetary forms. The Forex market is moreover alluded to as the ‘Fx market’, ‘Money market’, ‘Foreign exchange cash market’ or ‘Foreign cash market’, and it’s the greatest and most fluid market inside the world with a normal every day turnover of $3.98 trillion. The Fx market is open twenty-four hours consistently, five days for every week with the most essential world business focuses being arranged in London, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, and Sydney. It should be noticed that there’s no focal marketplace for the Forex market; trading is rather directed ‘over the counter'; dislike stocks where there’s a focal marketplace with all requests handled simply like the stock exchange. Forex might be an item cited by all the real banks, and not all banks can have precisely the same because of postponement in servers. Presently, the dealer’s stage take every one of these sustains from the different banks tied with them and along these lines the quotes we see from our specialist are estimated normal of them. The merchant is viably executing the exchange and taking the inverse side of it, they ‘make the market’ for you. When you get a cash match… your agent is marketing it to you, not ‘another broker’.

In 1876, something many refer to as the gold exchange standard was actualized. Fundamentally, it said that all paper cash must be sponsored by strong gold; the thought here was to balance out world monetary standards by pegging them to the price of gold. It was a smart thought in principle, however as a general rule, it made blast bust examples which at last prompted the end of the highest quality level. The highest quality level was dropped around the start of World War 2 as real European nations did not have enough gold to bolster all the cash they were printing to pay for extensive military activities. In spite of the fact that the best quality level was at last dropped, the valuable metal never lost its spot as a definitive type of financial esteem. The world at that point chosen to have settled exchange rates that brought about the U.S. dollar being the essential hold cash and that it would be the main money supported by gold, this is known as the ‘Bretton Woods System’ and it occurred in 1944. In 1971, the U.S. announced that it would at no time in the future exchange gold for U.S. dollars that were held in foreign stores, this denoted the finish of the Bretton Woods System. It was this separate of the Bretton Woods System that at last prompted the for the most part worldwide acknowledgment of skimming foreign exchange rates in 1976. This was adequately the “birth” of the current foreign money exchange market, in spite of the fact that it didn’t turn out to be broadly electronically exchanged until about the mid-1990s.

Forex trading as it identifies with retail traders (like you and I) is the theory on the price of one cash against another. For instance, on the off chance that you think the euro will ascend against the U.S. dollar, you can purchase the EUR/USD cash match low and afterward (ideally) pitch it at a higher price to make a benefit. Obviously, in the event that you purchase the euro against the dollar EUR/USD, and the U.S. dollar fortifies, you will then be in a losing position. Along these lines, it’s essential to know about the hazard required in trading Forex, and not just the reward. We can exploit the high use and unpredictability of the Forex market by learning and acing and successful Forex trading methodology, assembling a powerful trading arrangement around that procedure, and tailing it with super cold train. Cash administration is key here; use is a twofold edged sword and can make you a ton of cash quick or lose you a great deal of cash quick. The way to cash administration in Forex trading is to dependably know the correct dollar sum you have at hazard before entering an exchange and be Ok, with losing that measure of cash, on the grounds that any one exchange could be a failure.

  • Who exchanges Forex and why?

Banks – The interbank market takes into account both the dominant part of business Forex exchanges and a lot of theoretical trading every day. Some expansive banks will exchange billions of dollars, every day. Here and there this trading is done in the interest of clients, however much is finished by restrictive traders who are trading for the bank’s own record.

Organizations – Companies need to utilize the foreign exchange market to pay for products and enterprises from foreign nations and furthermore to offer merchandise or administrations in foreign nations. A critical piece of the day by day Forex market action originates from organizations hoping to exchange money keeping in mind the end goal to execute in different nations.

Governments/Central banks – A nation’s national bank can assume a critical part in the foreign exchange markets. They can cause an expansion or decline in the estimation of their country’s cash by attempting to control cash supply, swelling, and (or) financing costs. They can utilize their generous foreign exchange stores to attempt and balance out the market.

Multifaceted investments – Somewhere around 70 to 90% of all foreign exchange exchanges are theoretical in nature. This implies, the individual or establishments that purchased or sold the cash has no arrangement of really taking conveyance of the money; rather, the exchange was executed with sole aim of theorizing on the price development of that specific cash. Retail theorists (you and I) are little cheddar contrasted with the enormous multifaceted investments that control and guess with billions of dollars of value every day in the money markets.

People – If you have ever headed out to an alternate nation and exchanged your cash into an alternate money at the airplane terminal or bank, you have as of now partaken in the foreign money exchange market.

Investors – Investment firms who oversee extensive portfolios for their customers utilize the Fx market to encourage exchanges in foreign securities. For instance, a venture chief controlling a worldwide value portfolio needs to utilize the Forex market to buy and offer a few cash combines keeping in mind the end goal to pay for foreign securities they need to buy.

Retail Forex traders – Finally, we come to retail Forex traders (you and I). The retail Forex trading industry is becoming ordinary with the approach of Forex trading stages and their simplicity of openness on the web. Retail Forex traders get to the market in a roundabout way either through a dealer or a bank.

There are two fundamental sorts of retail Forex handles that give us the capacity to theorize on the money market: specialists and merchants. Representatives fill in as a specialist for the dealer by attempting to locate the best price in the market and executing in the interest of the client. For this, they charge a commission on top of the price acquired in the market. Merchants are likewise called market producers since they ‘make the market’ for the dealer and go about as the counter-party to their exchanges, they cite a price they will bargain at and are repaid through the spread, which is the distinction between the purchase and offer price.

Preferences of Trading the Forex Market:

  • Forex is the biggest market on the planet, with every day volumes surpassing $3 trillion every day. This implies thick liquidity which makes it simple to get in and out of positions. • Trade at whatever point you need: There is no opening chime in the Forex market. You can enter or leave an exchange at whatever point you need from Sunday around 5pm EST to Friday around 4pm EST.
  • Ease of get to: You can finance your managed trading accountswith as meagre as $250 at many retail agents and start trading that day now and again. Straight through request execution enables you to exchange at the snap of a mouse.
  • Fewer cash sets to concentrate on, rather than getting lost attempting to break down a large number of stocks
  • Freedom to exchange anyplace on the planet with the main necessities being a tablet and web association.
  • No-commission trading with many retail market-creators and general lower exchange costs than stocks and wares.
  • Volatility enables traders to benefit in any market condition and accommodates high-likelihood week after week trading openings. Likewise, there is no auxiliary market inclination like the long predisposition of the share trading system, so traders have meet chance to benefit in rising or falling markets. While the forex market is unmistakably an extraordinary market to exchange, I would note to all learners that trading conveys both the potential for reward and hazard. Many individuals come into the markets pondering the reward and overlooking the dangers included, this is the speediest approach to lose the majority of your trading account cash. On the off chance that you need to begin trading the Fx market destined for success, it’s important that you know about and acknowledge the way that you could lose on any given exchange you take.
  • Why is the Forex market so prevalent?

Being a Forex merchant offers the most astounding potential way of life of any calling on the planet. It is difficult to arrive, yet in the event that you are resolved and taught, you can get it going. Here’s a fast rundown of abilities you should achieve your objectives in the Forex market:

  1. Ability – to assume a misfortune without getting to be plainly passionate
  2. Confidence – to have confidence in yourself and you’re trading procedure, and to have no dread
  3. Dedication – to turning into the best Forex merchant you can be
  4. Discipline – to stay cool and dispassionate in a domain of consistent allurement (the market)
  5. Flexibility – to exchange changing market conditions effectively 6. Focus – to remain focused on your trading arrangement and to not stray off kilter
  6. Logic – to take a gander at the market from a goal and straight forward point of view
  7. Organization – to fashion and strengthen positive trading propensities
  8. Patience – to sit tight for just the most elevated likelihood trading methodologies as per your arrangement
  9. Realism – to not think you will get rich fast and comprehend the truth of the market and trading
  10. Savvy – to exploit your trading edge when it emerges and know about what is occurring in the market at all circumstances
  11. Self-control – to not over-exchange and over-use your trading account As traders.