Want to add value to your organization? Take a close look at the concept offinancial shared services, but be prepared to become not just an agent of changebut also education. During the past two to three years, my company DENTSPLY hasbeen enjoying a significant growth spurt, both internally and throughacquisition. With more than a $1 billion in sales, we had 14 separate divisionsin North America alone, handling everything from the selling and distribution ofdental products to manufacturing, each with a fully staffed financial accountingdepartment headed by a controller. Our operating margins were strong, even witheach unit having its own version of receivables, payables, payroll, fixed assettracking and travel and expense reimbursement. Nobody’s numbers looked that muchout of line, but each unit and each units financial management clearly had aunique set of priorities and were achieving widely differing standards ofefficiencies because of it.
Nothing was broke, but let’s just say we weren’t getting the mileage out of ourresources that we should have been. Couldn’t we do better if we eliminated someof the obvious duplication of effort? Still, on the whole managers enjoyed thislevel of autonomy.