With operations in 80 countries, and an organizational structure that divides the world into four major geographical areas and more than 30 narrower geomarkets, there are few companies that can claim to be any more global than $19.2 billion Houston-based oilfield services giant Schlumberger Ltd.

For Simon Ayat, Schlumberger's executive vice president and CFO since March 2007, the concept of global does not mean totally centralized into "mega-shared service centers." Schlumberger's finance organization is a mix of centralized and decentralized activities. Says Ayat: "Being close to the place of operations has a lot of value for the purposes of compliance and internal controls."

Such an approach has its burdens–especially with revenues growing by 26.8% in 2005, 30.7% in 2006 and 29% in the first quarter of 2007. Nevertheless, the finance organization is highly efficient: Within five business days of the monthly close, Ayat has the monthly revenues, and the profit and loss statement and balance sheet a few days after that. Helping manage such growth are three major enterprise resource planning systems: SAP in North America; Lawson in the rest of the world; and MFG/PRO, a specialized ERP system for Schlumberger's manufacturing and products center.

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