By Andrew Simpson, head of global business services Americas; and Kelly Jackson, human resources director global business services Americas, BP North America
BP is one of the early pioneers in global finance transformation, having implemented one of the world’s first finance and accounting outsourcing contracts of any scale with Accenture in the 1990s. Today, the organisation has evolved from a company that has utilised both an outsourcing and a centre of excellence model, to a business services strategy wherein the relationship between finance embedded in the business (strategy and analytics), and business services (transactional finance delivered by region) is more finely drawn. Now the business services centre model (BSC) encompasses both outsourcing and shared services under one management umbrella, forging new relationships with the business, and aligning shared services and outsourcing delivery under one umbrella.
Offshoring indelibly changed the finance talent equation for BP. There was a period of time we experienced difficulties attracting top talent but offshoring gave us a new talent pool to recruit from and, therefore, offshoring has changed the talent dichotomy. The talent BP retained could now move to a higher level, resulting in a separation of career paths which has become more pronounced over time. The finance organisation recognises this divide, and is continually evolving its finance operating model in light of business requirements, with a particular focus on talent.
Solutions – business services key in developing future leaders
- Rotation through business service to develop new capabilities. The company is focused on developing career paths for its future CFOs by charting a course through our BSC operation, and it recognises that to be a future CFO, just understanding finance is not the answer – individuals must also master the capabilities attainable through a rotation in our business service centre operations. We recognise the need to ensure that BSC skills are highly valued in future leaders, and that businesses can make mistakes by appointing leaders that do not understand the back office. This is why rotation through BSC operations is essential in providing finance staff with the vital skills needed to manage large teams, work virtually, and for the organisation to harness talent around the world.
- Finance leaders focused on succession planning. Bi-annually, the finance leadership team hosts a CFO roundtable, with a half-day focus on talent and succession planning. Our finance leaders are very attuned to the need to develop the right talent, and are focused on defining growth opportunities for finance professionals by developing defined career paths.
This case study appeared in an ACCA report on Talent and capability in global finance functions. As part of ACCA’s qualitative research leading organisations shared their approaches.