Client: Global Media & Advertising Firm
Function: Finance Department
Project: Redesign Processes for Outsourcing to Offshore Provider
Overall Project Mission
A global media and advertising holding company outsourced parts of their finance back-office to a third-party, based in India. All finance functions were in scope: accounts payable, accounts receivable, job accounting, and general accounting. The project required changes to the finance processes, training of the new outsourced resources, required consistent project & change management and new ways of working.
To outsource parts of a business process, business process documentation with clearly defined hand-offs, timelines, and deliverables is required. The existing business processes were designed within a small finance department, with all staff members onsite. Most processes were not well documented, if they were documented at all. Hand-offs were not well defined and roles and responsibilities were unclear.
Additionally, employees within finance worked mostly on paper or on spreadsheets saved locally on their desktops. New ways of working were required to enable collaboration with remote colleagues at the outsourcer. Processes had to be digitized to enable collaboration, review, and approval remotely.
As-Is Process Definition
Because there was little existing business process documentation, the team had to begin by documenting the current as-is processes. During a series of workshops with subject matter experts, the team collected narratives, forms, and templates. The team created detail process flows with swim lanes to delineate who owned each portion of the process. Representatives from the outsourcer participated in these sessions, so they also functioned as training sessions. The team facilitated a dialog between our client the and outsourcer.
Business Process Design
Using the as-is process documentation and the scope document for the outsourcing project, which defined at a mid-level which parts of each processes would go offshore, the team redesigned the processes:
- Delineated roles and responsibilities within each process
- Defined hand-offs, timelines, and deliverables
- Ensured the processes complied with relevant organization policies
- Identified where shared email boxes or folders were required to enable collaboration
- Redesigned request forms to ensure they contained all information required to process a request and were digital
- Ensured that SOX controls were appropriately addressed (e.g., segregation of duties, documented review and approval)
- Assigned relevant portions of the processes to the outsourcer
Facilitate Agreement with the Outsourcer
Both the client organization and the outsourcer had to agree on the newly designed processes. The team facilitated meetings between both parties to review the processes, address questions and concerns, and modify the processes where required.