How Are You Turning Shared Services "Expert"?
Overall, people that work in "silos" don’t have the opportunity to pick up that extra knowledge that is needed for a shared services environment – where it’s quite different in terms of what you measure and how you measure things. This course fills the gaps.
The Financial Acumen module included some discussions around the development of a business case, which was very valuable. In every decision you make you need to be able to support the "going forward" part of it; because otherwise you’re going to end up trying to do something that you can’t support payment for, or whatever.
"It is great program, well managed, and extremely user friendly. I have learned a great deal from participating in the program and consider it to be a resource that keeps on giving."
Richard Caldwell, Accounts Receivable, Wendy’s
BH: Richard, congratulations on recently graduating from the SSOPro course. When you started on this program, what were your expectations? What were you hoping to get out of an online training program specifically for shared services and outsourcing?
RC: I think mainly a validation of things that we had already put in place here at Wendy’s and any new type of methodologies and best practices that maybe I wasn’t aware of. What I got out of the program, apart from the obvious learnings, was that I think it validated what I had already learned. That was probably the most important part. People explain things to you and you say, "okay I understand", but until you go out there and validate it through the educational and practical piece you’re not sure whether it’s just someone’s opinion of how things should be done. So in validating it, it becomes a best practice as opposed to someone’s opinion.
BH: What is your specific function within the shared services group?
RC: I am responsible for Accounts Receivable.
BH: In terms of the program, was there an aspect of Accounts Receivable that you were trying to get more details on?
RC: Overall, I think people that work in "silos" don’t have the opportunity to pick up that extra knowledge that is needed – especially in a shared services environment, where it’s quite different in terms of what you measure and how you measure things.
BH: So the SSOPro program gives you a broader view on the role that you’re fulfilling?
RC: Right. Exactly. I thought it was really good, and I thought the white papers attached were also very good.
BH: Do you think it’s helpful in terms of broadening a shared services career?
RC: I definitely think so. Again, I was looking for validation to a large extent, because we were already putting quite a bit of that stuff in place here. But at the same time, since we don’t really outsource here per se, in AR, it was helpful to have that "outsourcing" piece of the program. I’d had some experience in that before so it helped reset that table for me.
BH: Can you give me some examples of where you picked up something and thought, that’s useful, I’m going to share that with the team. Any light bulb moments?
RC: Well someone was mentioning to me the other day that they were having trouble with change management. I was able to have quite a useful discussion with them about the course and the various white papers etc. that are available, in terms of change management. I would not otherwise have had a good foundation for that conversation.
I also think that the Benchmarking modules had some really useful material – and the Talent Management modules, too, were very good. The latter taught a lot about team dynamics. It’s easy to overlook that.
BH: Which of the modules do you feel was the most useful to you?
RC: The Financial Acumen module included some discussions around the development of a business case, which I thought was very valuable. I think that’s probably one of the more important pieces of that module, quite frankly. In every decision you make you need to be able to support the "going forward" part of it; really, before you do anything else you have to do that first, because you’re going to end up trying to do something that you can’t support payment for, or whatever, so that was useful.
BH: What about the message board, did you make use of that?
RC: I posted at least six messages. I thought that was good because there were people that were reaching out for answers on some areas that I had experience in, so I was able to offer some help.
BH: On a scale of one to ten, how useful has this course been to you?
RC: I would say eight, nine – I would put it in that area.
BH: We are delighted to hear that!
RC: It’s been very helpful, and it’s one of those things they can’t take away from you!
BH: Yes. This is an opportunity for you to invest in yourself, it stays in you. It’s very portable. It’s what up-scaling is all about. How did you find the tests?
RC: I thought they were pretty good – and I would say that because the score I achieved on the final exam was very high! I think I only missed two, so the tests must have been pretty good!
BH: Congratulations, that’s a great result because we did try and make the test pretty hard so I’m glad to hear that the course is serving your needs. Are there any tips you’d share for passing with flying colours?
RC: For some modules there was a script, and in those cases I’d print out the script and read it when I didn’t have access to a computer. Also, I actually took notes on every module. That was helpful to me, as I could go back over those before I took the exam.
BH: Richard, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me. I wish you all the best in your shared services career.
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