Finance SSO industry faces talent crunch: ACCA survey

  • Only 53% of finance/ accounting professionals working in Malaysia’s SSO industry satisfied with current job
  • Unsatisfactory remuneration, limited career progression, monotonous and repetitive work among the challenges

Finance SSO industry faces talent crunch: ACCA surveyTHE adoption of finance and accounting shared services and outsourcing (SSO) as a business strategy for finance leaders is increasing in popularity, and this gives rise to new questions about how this evolution will impact the talent pipeline for global finance functions, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said in a statement.
 
To find out more about the talent issues as it would apply to the SSO scenario in Malaysia, ACCA had collaborated with the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) to conduct a survey on Talent Attraction and Retention in Finance & Accounting Shared Services in the country.
 
The survey gathered responses from 626 finance and accounting professionals currently working in the SSO industry in Malaysia.
 
It was discovered that an overwhelming 84% enjoyed the nature of their work, while 82% are confident they can build a long-term career in the shared services industry.
 
However, only 53% are satisfied with their current job, according to the findings which were released at the ACCA Finance Shared Services and Outsourcing Summit 2013 held Aug 22 in Kuala Lumpur, and attended by over 200 local and international delegates.
 
The survey further revealed that factors such as unsatisfactory remuneration, limited career progression, monotonous and repetitive work, and lack of talent management strategies make the shared services industry less attractive.
 
Malaysia remains one of the fastest-rising destinations of choice for finance and accounting shared services and outsourcing, according to Michael Warren, MDeC’s outgoing vice-president who joins Fujitsu Malaysia as president on Sept 1.
 
In 2012, ICT companies in the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia), which MDeC oversees, recorded RM33.53 billion (US$10.18 billion) in revenue, and one-third came from the shared services sector, he said.
 
“Malaysia is not the cheapest for talent but in terms of talent ability, growth and talent matching, we are very favourable,” Warren said at the ACCA summit.
 
“However, there is not enough talent for the SSO industry. That’s why it is very important for MDeC to work with the ACCA and Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) to find talent, not only within Malaysia but from around the world,” said Warren.
 
The Malaysian Government established TalentCorp to arrest the alarming ‘brain drain’ in the country and to attract skilled professionals back.
 
The speed at which finance operating models are evolving today has industry players questioning how SSO delivery centres can best support the value creation agenda. This is particularly true for global finance functions as they seek to become more efficient and effective partners to the organisation in their ‘go for growth’ strategies, the ACCA association said in its statement.
 
“As the finance function begins to transform, new roles will evolve, new career paths will emerge and new skills and capabilities will be required,” said ACCA executive director Stephen Heathcote. “The implications of this new development are tremendous, but its effects are still largely unknown.”
 
“ACCA’s research suggests that significant challenges remain, particularly in relation to mobility and the challenge of career paths extending between shared services operations and the rest of the finance function,” he added.
 
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