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Thursday, September 01, 2011

'Fortune 700 cos will need more financial planning services'

Milind Godbole, President, Asia Pacific, Aditya Birla Minacs Worldwide, opens up about the future of the financial accounting outsourcing (FAO) sector and his company’s expertise in the field.

What is the current market scenario for the FAO?
With regard to Fortune 700 companies, FAO has attained market maturity and has become a highly commoditized business. The key differentiating factors among service providers in this space is their existing capability, size of operations, ability to scale and reference-ability from current customers. However, mid-market customers continue to wait and watch and are yet to demystify the FAO value proposition. The competition in this space is limited due to various reasons; the service providers are trying to offer the traditional Accounts Payable (AP) outsourcing in a commoditized manner but are developing niche vertical specific FAO offerings which will redefine this space over next 24 months.

What are the services areas that you are expecting growth in FAO?
Financial Planning and Analysis services for the Fortune 700 will gather further momentum. Additionally large companies will look upon their BPO partner to provide an integrated Procure to Pay (P2P) service offering to infuse additional efficiency in the system. All FAO service areas in the mid-market space provide an excellent growth opportunity.

Industry specific bespoke solutions that address CFO painpoints or provide disruptive value proposition are poised for growth. Unique yet scalable solutions offerings focused on niche areas such as federal government contractors or restaurant and franchisee business accounting have immense growth opportunities.

What are the business drivers that are driving the growth in this segment? Financial Planning and Analysis: FAO’s focus so far has been on efficiency. In order to create self-differentiation service providers are keen on impacting customer effectiveness. FP&A allows service providers to deliver additional value as it impacts the balance-sheet of the customer.

Procure To Pay (P2P): FAO providers have the opportunity to mine their AP customers and offer a combination of efficiency and effectiveness in form of procurement. Transactional Procurement services integrated with AP help enable higher compliance and end customer/supplier satisfaction. Additionally since FAO providers have access to AP database they can maintain an evergreen spend cube which can enable ongoing spend analysis leading to spend reduction.

Mid-market offers a vast opportunity to service providers as this a segment which has a large size and is relatively new to FAO.

Bespoke solutions are innovative solutions being developed by service providers in order to create self differentiation in an otherwise commoditized market. Such solutions offer a great opportunity because as on date, such solutions aren’t being offered in the market place.

What are Minacs offerings and expertise in FAO?
- Purchase and accounts payable: including purchase order processing, vendor bill and employee claim booking, payment processing, reconciliation.

- Billing and accounts receivable: including sales order processing, invoice processing, remittance posting, debit/ credit note processing and reconciliation.

- General ledger accounting: including ledger scrutiny, accrual entries, schedule preparation, book closure and audit coordination, reconciliation.

- Fixed asset accounting: including capitalization, depreciation runs, fixed assets register maintenance.
- Taxation compliance
- Statutory internal MIS and audit
- Restaurant & Franchisee Business Accounting
- Real Estate Fund & Property Management Accounting

We also provide specialty FAO solutions such as US federal compliance, including government cost proposals, incurred cost submissions, Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Cost/ Schedule Summary Report (C/SSR).

What business value does your FAO service bring to your clients?
Since 1999 we have partnered with our mid-market & SMB clients in delivering higher-end, more complex, knowledge-intensive F&A processes. Besides supporting traditionally outsourced finance activities, we also provide services much higher up the “value chain” as a “complete package”.

Many of our clients outsource all of their finance activities below the CFO level to MinacsHence, our teams play a crucial role in supporting the more complex finance and controlling requirements of our clients – providing end to end services, such as information for internal auditors, in helping produce the statutory accounts, providing the necessary support and information for the year-end audit process, delivering the month end accounts and commentaries to show performance of the enterprise in key areas, and most critically, in providing the deep insight and analysis that organizations increasingly require in their complex operating environment to take key decisions.

Written for India Syndicate

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