PwC: Global business centres in Ireland are booming

03 August 2015

Shared Service Centres are booming in Ireland, with 78% of their executives expecting expansion in the coming years, research by PwC shows. This expansion will involve hiring more talent as well as investing in technology. However, 80% of executives remain unsatisfied with the deployment of technology within their organisation and 67% highlight that the proliferation of the Centre model means the demand for talent may become more difficult to source in the future.

In a survey among 120 Shared Service Centre (SSC) professionals, professional services firm PwC and the ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) explore the SSC landscape in Ireland. SSCs have grown in popularity over the years, and are predominantly operated by multi-national organisations creating centralised units around specific functional groups, like HR, treasury, payroll, supply chain management, procurement and tax.

The survey results highlight the optimism of respondents for the future of Ireland’s SSCs, with 78% of professionals indicating that their centre will be expanding in the coming years. As part of the expansion the centres “are set to create more jobs” for which 64% seek to increase their headcount.

Global business centres in Ireland are booming

However, while there is good news in terms of expansion aims, the role of technology in the future of centres is found to be problematic. Eight in ten (80%) are not satisfied with the use of technology within their organisation. In addition, 50% disclose that they find that there is room for improvement regarding the measurement of the performance of their SSC. Furthermore, while companies are looking to expand their SSC, many (67%) continue to be concerned about talent bottlenecks.

According to the survey, respondents remain wary that the future success of SSCs is tied to technological integration and specific talent. Respondent cite future demand expected in cloud computing and robotics, as well as the use of data analytics, business intelligence and predictive behaviour techniques as critical not only for performance measurement but also to ensure that SSCs remain at the cutting edge of value delivery.

PwC ACCA Shared Services Centres Survey

Speaking about the survey, Alisa Hayden, Partner at PwC, says: “With a highly talented workforce and competitive tax regime, the survey highlights that Ireland has a huge opportunity to further develop its offering as a centre of excellence for Shared Services Centres. The key to success for these centres within their organisation is that they are innovative knowledge centres, delivering high value add, are competitive and have the ability to standardise and centralise processes while being flexible and adaptable. Continued investment in talent management will be critical for Ireland to secure our SSC growth potential.”

Jamie Lyon, Head of Corporate Sector ACCA, adds: “Interest in SSCs continues to grow yet a critical unanswered question remains, which is: what are the implications for developing sustainable talent across the corporate enterprise and within finance functions as the shared service delivery model continues to change. As ACCA research continues to demonstrate, these developments are fundamentally changing the nature of finance career paths and have huge implications for how the next generation of CFO leadership talent can be developed, and where it will be sourced from.”

Last week featured a study which highlighted Ireland's growing FinTech market.