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Fundamentals of Building a Shared Service Center – Part 1

The SAP Finance and Administration Project

This blog attempts to describe an internal SAP Finance and Administration project that was implemented by SAP.  If you are starting down the path of such an implementation in your organization, this will give a behind the scenes look providing the background information and then explaining the SAP project from beginning to end with all of its phases. We focus on the fundamentals of building a successful Shared Service Center based on previous historical background. Main topic: centralisation of the transactional processes and exploration and exposure of the corresponding benefits.

Finance process examples reflect the practical experience gained through the different phases.

The intention of the project is to increase efficiency quality and to get a better performance through economies of scale.

Why a Shared Service Center

In explaining the reason organizations are interested in creating Shared Service Centers author B.Bergeron in his book: ” Essentials of Shared Services” writes: “In our global economic environment, which is characterized by downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, and uncertainty, managers are grasping for ways to simultaneously improve the bottom line while increasing competitiveness.” These gains can be won through achieving real value to customers and not simply creating an innovative business plan. Our business model, F&A SSC tends to combine the benefits of both centralization and decentralization, avoiding disadvantages and risks of both options.

The reduction of workload for subsidiaries is one of the advantages of the SSC model. All processes become core processes of the SSC, which is able to offer its services cheaper. In total, the concept of shared services is an enabler within a move into a trend with higher degree of standardization, automation, simplicity, and cost focus.

Why a Shared Service Center on BPX

The purpose of the SDN/BPX community, to the best of our understanding, is to offer a comprehensive source of information to help customers and partners to do their jobs better and faster. The collaborative environment helps the ecosystem get the answers they need, when they need them, with a library of technical articles, documentation, downloads, expert blogs, eLearning materials, and other free resources.   It was because of this collaboration ability that we decided to work on the project for F&A SSC using the wiki.

How We Began the Shared Service Center as a BPX Wiki Space

Design and development phase lasted from February 2007 to July this year. After the initial idea has been initialized we defined a first high-level structure according to the White Paper and started to develop content. Objective is to share our experience by realizing SAP’s internal project and to give insights how finance processes can be executed in a Shared Service Center. First step was to describe the processes and the process split between local finance organizations and Shared Service Center. One of our colleagues started to collect process materials and gave a first draft of possible process maps and contents for our space, especially to view the processes and to make a compressed overview. From March until end of June we continued to develop the process descriptions together with two colleagues from the migration team. From July to mid of September 2007 we had an implementation phase with content reviews by different process experts. An internal Go-Live for SAP-users was the 21st of September and finally we had our external Go-Live at the end of October 2007.


Many thanks to all the colleagues who supported us in the design and implementation phase. I would like to thank especially Ayse for her great support in integrating the content in the Wiki-format.

Many thanks also to Didier Engels, Steve Lambiliotte and Julia Kattermann for the review of the content and update of all processes according to the latest status as well as the colleagues from the PEP team who contributed (especially Guido Rietveld and Thomas Mink for the initial set-up and first draft of the process description) and finally Michael Schwandt and Mario Herger for their great support.

My sincere thanks go to Dr. Werner Brandt who gave us the approval for an external publishing of our wiki space.


The Finance SSC Wiki offers BPX content and shares best practices and learnings of the SAP Finance Shared Service Center project (PEP).

The Business Process Expert (BPX) Community is a community for Business process professionals to support SAP’s business process platform strategy with a program that enables and empowers them via collaboration and knowledge sharing. We would like to lead the market with the first community focused on enabling business process professionals and Shared Service experts, by providing relevant and timely information.

Internally, we are happy to support our own Sales and Business Consulting by providing an internet-based platform where we can share our knowledge with customers and showcase a best in breed solution as well as the expertise in best practice finance processes for Shared Services.

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