N.A.G.S cup – networking and golf society


Last week we hosted our final networking and golf society (N.A.G.S) of the year at Aston Wood Golf Club. Over the spring/summer months we have held a monthly golf networking meeting, where a diverse group of business owners, leaders, consultants and their networks, have all joined to play golf, network and have some fun!


Throughout the whole year, we’ve probably had an hour or two of rain in total – so when Carl kept saying he would provide good weather, he actually did!


For us, the golf event isn’t about inviting people to get business, it’s getting to know people and building relationships. In fact, more business has been done between participants of the society, which is very refreshing to see.


The society, known as N.A.G.S – networking and golf society – and we have had our very own trophy made for the overall, yearly winner.


The last day was a little more special, as we bought the society to a close at Aston Wood. We had our trick shot pro, Ady Wheatcroft on one of the par 3’s, our triple branded goodie bags, and a number of prizes on offer for the day.


You can check out some of the action here.


We’ll be hosting it again next year with our partners Mills & Reeves and HJ Wealth, it’s going to be bigger and better and we have some exclusive courses booked in for next year. If you’re interested in getting involved in next year’s society or want to discuss you can contact me on  sam@refind.co.uk or sign up to the mailing list here.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.


Why won’t top-performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.


Par-tee on!

Our golf society has been a huge success this year – we teamed up with Mills & Reeve at the beginning of the year, to host an annual golf society across the West Midlands, which has been running from March through to October.

Why join?

If you’re anything like me and love playing golf and meeting new people, then it’s the perfect event to attend. It’s informal networking at its best, and we’ve even managed to guarantee the weather on every occasion bar one!

We don’t care how good your golf is or if you haven’t played for a while, we’re more about the taking part and having fun.

The final meeting

The next, and final, event of 2019 is being held at Aston Wood Golf Club on the 17th October. We currently have over 30 people attending so far, with the brilliant Ady coming along for the whole day to run all different competitions and give away prizes including a Par 3 challenge with Hole-in-One insurance: £1,000 instant win up for grabs!

We’re all about having a chat and a bit of fun, so we’ll heading out for an afternoon/evening of food and drinks. The event is free to attend, and we’ll be giving out some prizes.

Here’s James Cumming showing his natural golfing skills at one of our earlier society meetings!

Next year

Next year will be even bigger and better – we have HJ Wealth Planning joining forces with us and we’re cherry-picking the best courses to play. If you’re interested in coming along on 17th October or you want to get involved in the society next year, please contact me or Emily Allen for more info and we’ll get you in if we can.

If you would like to discuss further, email me on sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top-performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

How small changes can make a huge difference

After what started as a great year for me, the past couple of months have been pretty shit, to say the least.

I’ve felt drained and unmotivated due to a few things that have happened in my personal life. I recently lost my Nan who I was very close to, which has had a huge impact on the wider family. I appreciate this is a normal part of life, but it had a negative impact on my mental health, which I realised I needed to improve.

Small changes

It’s very easy to blame things on events that have happened, but I quickly realised that a change of mindset and talking to people close to you really helps – and has been key for me personally.

As well as that, a few minor lifestyle changes and realigning my goals, has given me a new focus and fresh motivation. For me, exercise has been invaluable in improving my motivation, but it also gives me headspace and helps me switch off.

Setting goals

I’ve recently set myself a goal of running the Birmingham Half Marathon and raising a few quid for charity in the process.  It is something I’ve done before, but I’ve never put any focus on training or achieving a competitive time – which I will do this time.

At re:find, as you know, we love cows. So, I thought it would make complete sense to run it dressed as a cow, surely – this will raise some extra cash and make it more challenging!?

I’m not a runner, but I do like a challenge so I’m hoping to complete it in under 2 hours. Training hasn’t started just yet, but if you see a cow running on two legs through Sutton Park, then don’t forget to say hi!

Want to help?

I’ve set up a just giving page if you’d like to make a donation for the great work the NSPCC do to help children, then you can do by clicking here.

re:find supports the NSPPC as a supported member of the Midlands business board, organising fundraising events throughout the year. The biggest fundraiser is the annual ball which, this year, is being held on Friday 8th November at the ICC. Tables are only £800 and it’s a brilliant night – let us know if you’re interested in getting a table.

If you’re struggling to get motivated – or maybe you want to do the marathon too! – I’m more than happy to chat, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top-performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

5 challenges when setting up a shared service centre

Challenges when setting up a shared service centre

Shared service centres (SSC) are becoming part of long-term business strategy and their numbers have increased significantly since the mid-80’s. Most organisations create SSC’s to improve efficiency, deliver cost savings and generally provide a better service for its customers and suppliers, as well as internal users.

But not all of them reap the benefits. Time and time again I hear about shared service centres failing and it’s usually down to one (or more) of the following challenges:


Every shared service centre needs a good leader. When going through periods of change, you need a leader that can not only influence the team but customers, suppliers and stakeholders too. A good leader will show resilience and will also be approachable. A leader needs to be strategic, and drive the SSC forward, but also needs to manage it from an operational perspective. Having the wrong leader can leave a team unhappy and disengaged. A good leader will look beyond the SSC and look at the impact this will have on the wider business, as well as the end user.


For a shared service centre to be successful, engagement must be a priority. This doesn’t just mean engaging with people who are working within it, but anyone that uses the service. A clear and positive message needs to be delivered about any changes that are taking place and how it may affect them. Managing people’s expectations and thinking about how it will affect them but delivering the message about how the changes are beneficial to THEM. Communication is key! It’s important that the project teams provide progress updates so you can celebrate success and quick wins, but also ensuring how external stakeholders may be impacted. Find out what drives people and how you can make THEM successful.


Technology is one of the most important factors of a successful SSC. With emerging technologies such as RPA, blockchain, analytics and The Cloud, to name a few. Tech will be one of the biggest investments when setting up a shared service centre. People say if it’s not broken then don’t fix it, but just because it works, it doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient way of doing it. SSCs are utilising technology more than ever. It can reduce headcount, eliminate errors and be more time efficient, but if it’s implemented wrong, or isn’t fit for purpose, it can create more problems than anything. 

Planning & strategy

The planning and strategy behind setting up a shared service centre is the most important part, in my eyes. Will this be a captive SSC, or will some functions be outsourced to a third-party provider? Location is also key, and you will need to ensure that the talent pool is sufficient for your requirements. Processes need to be transitioned; systems need to be integrated but this will have an impact on BAU responsibilities. Once setup, forward planning is crucial too, as you look to expand or consolidate different business units/regions into the SSC.


“A business is only as good as its employees.” I’m sure we’ve all heard that before?

People are one of the most important factors of a shared service centre. Without the right talent, SSC’s wouldn’t be able to deliver the service. It’s essential to have subject matter experts who can monitor compliance updates and implement the changes when needed. It’s important to gauge the talent pool in the area in which the SSC is located, as skill shortages can be a huge problem, particularly if it’s a European SSC with language speakers. Believe me European language speakers with specific experience is hard to find!

Although there are many more characteristics to think about, these will give you a strong foundation to have a great shared service centre.

If you would like to discuss further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

Shared services: should we go hybrid?

Shared services: should we go hybrid?

I get lots of questions about the difference between BPO and SSC, so I’ve put together a simplified answer to help you out. Could the hybrid model be the way to go?

When large organisations grow, relocate, merge, acquire, or even consolidate different entities, typically there are two options on how they manage their operational processes.

The most popular option is a Shared Service Centre (SSC), however more and more organisations are now exploring the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) model.

The difference between Shared Service Centre’s and Business Process Outsourcing is that an SSC is an internal function of an organisation, and a BPO is typically an outsourced provider based offshore, and an external solution.

Business process outsourcing

BPOs tend to offer greater productivity due to technology, process and advanced systems and AI. With labour costs in these locations offering a more cost-effective solution in the long run, however the initial set up of an outsourced model can be costly initially, but over time will see a ROI.

This can be setup quickly and effectively, however, as long as your process isn’t completely unique, as BPOs tend to offer a more ‘one size fits all’ model.

The most popular locations for a BPO is India, Philippines and Central-Eastern Europe and SSCs most popular locations such as Europe and USA. With lower labour costs, and huge talent pools, it is an effective and more cost-effective solution when done right. With a BPO, you wouldn’t need to hire, train and retain your staff, but simply move into this model, and become operational in a short period of time.

BPO offers organisations scalability and opportunity for growth, as most tend to offer a 10-20% cost reduction to an SSC model.

Whilst, outsourcing can be implemented more quickly, not all vendors can offer the same quality service as an SSC. For example, if the vendor is based in Eastern Europe or Asia, Language barriers could also affect the quality of the deliverables.

Shared service centres

The SSC model offers a more bespoke solution and tend to give a company the ability to run systems like an internal service provider, allowing it flexibility. Companies make efficiencies through process standardisation, technology improvements and centralisation of services.

The SSC model offers more control over decisions, enabling a better service to the customers, suppliers and internal users.

A Shared Service Centre can closely monitor the performance and quality of the work done, which gives more control over the service being offered, however, having to install and maintain a new infrastructure can be costly, let alone having to train the employees.

The hybrid model

The big one – the hybrid model – is when organisations may opt in for both solutions and use a combination of both. Combing different models to ensure you are working towards the organisation’s goals, with lower risk activities such as Cash Allocation, Accounts Payable Processing and Reconciliations tend to be offshored. There is less room for error with these tasks and involve more processing than communication.

Typically, their more administrative functions and processing work would be outsourced, and the more strategic responsibilities are kept in house. This has many benefits – you’re getting the best of both worlds and in house and outsourced teams are a partnership and therefore work together for better results.

It’s a new buzz in the industry, but could the hybrid model be the future?

If you would like to discuss further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

Your first 30, 60 and 90 days in a shared service leadership role

Starting a new role in shared services can be a little overwhelming. Imagine starting a new position managing a team in excess of 30, 50 or 100 people, with new systems and new processes, in a completely new environment.

Where would you start? Most of your first 30 days is a learning curve, and a chance to absorb as much info as possible. Break it down into smaller chunks…

30 Days

  • Introduce yourself:

First impressions count. It is important that you understand your team, and they understand you. What are their frustrations, what makes them tick, and what motivates them to go that extra mile? It is important to understand the dynamics of the team initially and they understand your reasons for being hired. Most managers within a shared service are appointed to make change and drive efficiencies within their function. The whole team need to understand the journey you’re on as they will be a fountain of knowledge to help you reach it.

  • Define your role:

Why have you been appointed? Most roles within shared service have a purpose, and you need to define your existence in the role and what you are there to achieve. The team need to understand your motivations too, so you need to be transparent around this and what you are trying to achieve. This way the team will understand why changes are being made.

  • Understand the business and culture:

What is the business strategy? What are the business’ long term goals? Is it to reduce costs, headcount, make processes more efficient or to grow the team to manage an acquisition? Whatever it is, your team in most cases need to be aware of it, to understand your vison and to help you achieve the journey that you’re on. Understanding the product or service of the business is key, as you will need to think outside the box and consider any challenges that the business may face, and how that will impact the wider shared service.

  • Evaluate your own performance:

Monitoring your performance over a 30, 60, and 90-day period is important. Set yourself achievable objectives, short and long term based on what you have set out with your line manager. Once you’ve set yourself these objectives, it is important not just to deliver them but to go above an beyond.

  • Plan…plan…plan….

60 Days

  • What were your observations in the first 30 days?

Start by looking back on your first 30 days. What have you achieved, what objectives did you meet/not meet and how realistic were they?

Did you identify any risks, skills shortages or areas for improvement? This is the perfect time to reflect on your observations and speak up.

  • Implementing new strategies/processes

What needs to be changed? Is it people, process or systems? This is where you will need to consider the changes you want to drive, and again what impact this may have on the wider business. Most importantly, your team, key stakeholders, and wider business should all be ‘bought in’ to the change agenda and just as importantly your customers and suppliers should be too, if the changes could potentially affect them.

  • Start building your own personal brand

It’s important to start building your own personal brand and be recognised for doing things well. You want to use this next 30 days to really step up and show people why you were hired, and what you do well. By now you should have established relationships within the business and have started to help develop your team and potentially upskill them in in certain areas. By now you should understand your key stakeholders too, and how much influence is needed.

  • Get some feedback

It is important now that you obtain regular feedback to ensure your vision aligns with your line managers. Talk around your observations, and future planning, and some of the key points you’re considering changing.

  • Plan, plan, plan…..

90 Days

  • Create an internal comms plan

Align your plan with the business, and create your own strategy and objectives to share with your team and stakeholders, so they have a clear understanding of the journey you’re on. 

  • Present your gatherings

After spending 60 days analysing and absorbing info, it’s now time to present your findings. Show your stakeholders your problems and create solutions of how to make improvements and how you will measure success.

  • Start the transformation

Now it’s time to really get your sleeves rolled up and start making the changes!

Making a good first impression is important when you’re starting any management role, and by now your confidence should have grown and you will have made an impact on the team in some shape or form. Planning your first 30,90 and 60 days is important if you want to achieve your goals.

If you would like to discuss further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.

What makes a good shared service leader?

A good shared service leader

Shared services is a continuously evolving function, and with emerging technologies and ever-changing job titles, it’s important that you set yourself apart from the crowd if you want to become a well-known leader within the industry.

Traditionally, shared service leaders were always judged on their hard skills. Shared services are set up to reduce costs, make processes more efficient and deliver results. However, not all shared service functions have an internal focus, and some are more focussed on delivering a better quality of service their customers, stakeholders and wider business.

So, what skills do you need to be a successful  shared services leader?

Leaderships Skills

Well this one is pretty obvious, really. Leadership skills is one of the most important things you need to have. You need to be the ‘anchor’ for the team and show resilience when going through periods of change. 

Ability to influence

In order to be a successful shared service leader, you will need to have the ability to influence. You will need to influence customers, stakeholders, suppliers as well as your wider team and perhaps the board. You will need to get their buy-in whilst delivering transformation through periods of change.

Commercial mindset

The best leaders within shared service functions will have a commercial mindset and will be more operational than transactional. It’s all about looking at the wider business and understanding how decisions can impact other operations and sometimes the end user.

Tech Savvy

With the rise of robotics, AI and cloud-based systems, it’s important that you can keep up to speed with the latest technologies. With mundane processing tasks being eliminated, this is a great chance to take away some of the tasks the team may call ‘painful’, allowing you to upskill them and utilise them more, which leads nicely to my next point…

Talent attraction and retention

You’re only as good as your team. Building a team with exceptional talent can be difficult. Retaining the team is even harder. In such a candidate driven market it’s important keep your team motivated and challenged as they will no doubt explore opportunities externally. Rotational training, incentive, and continuous development is what most staff want – ensure you get the best team and keep them – enabling you to do the best job possible!


Whilst there are some nice shiny job titles and sexy remuneration packages the best share service leaders, in my opinion, are the ones that are passionate about delivering change effectively. It’s all about wanting to add value and pushing to deliver results for the business.

What can I do to develop my skills?

  • Complete online courses/webinars to develop specific skills.
  • Speak at conferences and events.
  • Become a mentor.
  • Attend networking events.
  • Get involved in all aspects of the company and suggest improvements.

What skills do you feel make a good shared services leader? If you would like to discuss further, you can email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

How you’ll benefit from a shared service function

Benefit from a shared service function

Shared Service Centres have been around since the mid 80’s, and more and more frequently, large corporates are moving towards outsourcing and the shared service model.

Typically, a shared service organisation is a central hub, and is responsible for handling specific operational tasks. Finance tends the be the most popular function within a shared service, with HR following just behind.

Companies usually implement the shared service model for a number of reasons:

Cost reduction:

When back office functions are consolidated and the work is migrated into one department, this will inevitably reduce cost of transaction processing. In addition to labour savings, shared services contribute to reductions in infrastructure costs such as technology, facilities and services, and administrative overhead costs.

Making processes more efficient:

Replacing dispersed IT infrastructure with the latest technology can eliminate processing time. When standardisation and continuous improvement of processes and systems is being carried out, this leads to a reduction in processing time, less errors and an improved quality of service. This way, your teams time can be freed up so they can focus their time and efforts on more strategic and more ‘human’ tasks.

Improving the customer journey:

Not all organisations create a shared service model to reduce costs. Sometimes the strategy behind a centralised model is to improve the customer journey or service levels of an organisation. The most successful shared service centres, in my opinion, are the ones that focus on adding value as a centre of expertise. When metrics are implemented to a SSC (KPI’s/SLA’s) they help drive performance and service levels.

Upskilling existing staff:

With the rise of technology and automation within shared service functions, staff are being utilised in many other ways. Not only does it make staff more productive, it also improves their skillset and gives them a more rounded knowledge of a business, enabling them to really add value.

When you have motivated teams that have a clear message on what they are trying to deliver, then efficiency, cost reduction and economies of scale are usually improved naturally. It’s about the leadership team creating a clear message and vision on what you’re trying to achieve.

For more info on the role leadership plays within shared services then please see my blog here.

If you would like to discuss further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

Functions within Shared Service Centres

Functions within a Shared Service Centre

A Shared Service Centre (SSC) is a central hub of an organisation, typically responsible for handling specific operational and administrative tasks.

Shared Service Centres have been around since the mid 1980’s and, more frequently than ever, larger corporates are moving towards SSC’s and business process outsourcing.

Companies use a Shared Services model so they can utilise their people and the processes and technologies within the business. Organisations will open up SSC’s to concentrate their administrative duties into a centralised function, in order to reduce costs, avoid duplication of effort and to allow for greater focus on business strategy.

So, what are the main functions within Shared Service Centres?

The main functions we see across Shared Service Centres, listed in order of popularity are:

  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Procurement
  • Customer service/Contact Centres
  • Estates/Facilities
  • Sales and marketing
  • Legal

The key objectives for most SSC’s are reducing business costs, improved efficiency and control, performance/productivity measurement and customer satisfaction.

Finance and accounting, HR, and I.T are the main driving functions behind shared service centres. They bring about improvement in data analytics, process improvement and robotics and automation.

Finance and accounting

Finance and accounting is usually the most popular function within a shared service. It’s estimated that more than 50% of global companies have consolidated their accounting and finance functions into a shared service centre or are planning to do so.

Human Resources

Organisations use shared services as a way of streamlining their HR activities, typically concentrating transactional activities into a centralised and commonly shared function. The shared service model can help businesses reduce costs and increase process efficiency, allowing a greater focus on HR strategy.

Information Technology

IT was not the first function to take up shared services, however, it was quickly adapted to IT in the late 1990s. The objective is the same as with other functions; reaching scale economies through centralised IT activities.

The challenges:

You must bear in mind, as with everything, there are challenges to face within all shared service functions. The main challenges are:

  • Deskilling roles that then become tedious to complete.
  • Future development opportunities for administrative roles.
  • Loss of face to face interaction.
  • Decreasing process visibility from business units or sites.
  • Analytics not being used to measure success, to allow continuous improvement.
  • Heavy investment in information systems.

If you consider all these challenges in the early stages and plan accordingly, you give yourself the best chance to make your shared service function a success.

For more information on why HR Shared Service Centres fail, see Kate’s blog here.  

If you would like to discuss further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

You can sign up for more shared services news and updates from Sam here.  

The role leadership plays in shared services

The role leadership plays in shared services
The role leadership plays in shared services

What is the definition of leadership? The person who leads or commands a group, organisation, or country.

Many people ask me what defines a great shared services leader. Whilst this can encompass several different traits, there are usually a handful of personal qualities that a shared service leader should have and demonstrate. Whatever those traits and qualities, there is no doubt the role leadership plays in shared services is huge.

Traditionally, shared service leaders have been judged on their hard skills, such as cost reduction, operational excellence and delivering results. However, it’s 2019 and times have changed. More and more shared service functions require softer skills and more people related skills, to drive success. I guess this puts the saying, “A business is only as good as it’s people.” into perspective.

Communication and vision:

Creating a clear message and vision for your employees is the key to success. Just because something isn’t ‘broken’, it doesn’t mean you can’t fix it. You need a leader who takes the time to fully engage with the team, helping them understand the journey the business is on and influencing them to drive continuous improvement and change. Managing the change agenda is key, and you need to be passionate about this to engage stakeholders and ensure the right message is being delivered. I referenced the saying “if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it” – Imagine trying to change a process, when the individual has done their job like this for the past 10 years. It takes certain skills to get that person to see the benefits in the change.

Embrace technology:

You need leaders who are not afraid to embrace technology. Artificial intelligence and robotics are reshaping the way shared service functions operate. Whilst many think that AI will inevitably lead to headcount reduction, not only does it eliminate monotonous tasks and recurring processing activities, but it gives humans the chance to utilise their skills and add value in a different capacity. AI eliminates errors, increases efficiency, improves the customer experience and, over time, is more cost-effective. Good leaders need to embrace new technologies to help upskill their existing teams.

Look beyond the SSC:

Whilst the above point talks around efficiencies, leaders need to look beyond the shared service and think about effectiveness beyond. What impact does this have on the wider business, as well as your customers and suppliers? Shared services functions aren’t just created to reduce costs, they need to demonstrate high productivity and quality of service, not just internally.

Focus on talent:

Finding good shared services talent is hard. But once you have managed to secure the best talent, it’s important for leaders ensure they retain, develop and progress them.

  • Create an exclusive onboarding programme, so that employees feel valued, and have a clear understanding of what’s expected.
  • Build structured career paths. Give your employees the appetite for progression and encourage their personal development.
  • Maintain a great culture and working environment, where employees feel valued.
  • Reward success.
  • Just because it’s work, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way.

Upskill your existing staff:

It’s important that leaders upskill existing staff and keep them motivated. Having worked in a high-volume invoice processing role, I can relate to some shared services employees when they say their job is repetitive and sometimes mundane. The same monotonous tasks you must do, day in, day out, can be soul destroying. I had the task of solely processing invoices within accounts payable department and it was a delight when a colleague went on holiday, or there was a chance for some rotational training. When you’re given a new task, the chance to learn or simply just do something a bit different, it’s amazing how much you put your mind to it and have a different attitude towards it. As technology and AI develop within shared service functions, as previously mentioned, it’s even more important to upskill your team.

If you would like to discuss the role leadership plays in shared services further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

You can sign up for more shared services news and updates from Sam here.