Benchmarking is the process of comparing performance against the practices of other leading companies for the purpose of improving performance.
ASSA conducts benchmark studies – including mini and informal studies – on various services that are delivered by Shared Service Centres. Participation in benchmark studies is optional for ASSA members and carries an additional cost, which is dependent upon participant numbers. Participating members also have access to previous benchmark studies once a study is completed.
Benchmark studies are delivered in partnership with The Hackett Group, using Hackett’s benchmarking methodology and process technology to provide a consistent comparison framework.
We are about to launch the Benchmarking Studies for 2017 and we will confirm the functions to be benchmarked shortly . For further information, email [email protected].
Previous Benchmarking studies (2014)
In 2014, 14 corporate, public and private sector ASSA member organisations in Australia and New Zealand participated in three separate benchmark studies in Finance, Accounts Payable and Payroll Administration.
Feedback on the studies was extremely positive and all companies have been able to take away new ideas and connections to help them improve their own processes.
Finance Benchmark Study
- The size of the active asset base varies between participants, and the nature of asset modifications drives effort and activity
- The average activity level within shared services is close to world-class, although this varies between participants
- Subsystem integration with fixed assets varies between participants. Workflow usage is limited, and lags behind workflow usage for accounts payable
- Manager and professional usage in fixed assets processes is much greater than world-class (90% vs. 39%), indicating manual effort is required to ensure accuracy
- The size of the general ledger team varies between participants. Average activity level inside shared services is above world-class, although this varies between participants
- Technology usage varies including electronic journals, workflow, subsystem integration and a common finance application across all sites
- Business practices such as usage of common chart of accounts, standardised policies and procedures also varies. The number of active chart of accounts varies between participants and may also contribute to longer close and reporting cycles
- Manager and professional usage in general ledger processes is much greater than world-class (92% vs. 61%), indicating manual effort is required to ensure accuracy
Accounts Payable Benchmark Study
- Technology automation enables top performers to achieve invoice processing throughput close to or exceeding world-class
- Technology usage enables participants to achieve almost double the efficiency rates compared to participants who are have manual processes
- High proportion of overall accounts payable activity sitting inside shared services centres
- When purchase orders are supported by business processes and technology, they help increase efficiency and effectiveness
- Processes such as centralised receipt of invoices, electronic invoices, and electronic workflow contribute to efficiency and effectiveness
Payroll Administration Benchmark Study
Characteristics of top performers
- Technology usage to automate the payroll administration (including high levels of self-service by employees), automation of time, attendance and payroll transactions are enabling top performing organisations to achieve payslips per FTE exceeding world-class
- Payroll system integration with HR, general ledger and cost accounting applications is high
- High proportion of overall payroll administration activity sits inside shared services centres
- Automation results in low error rates and enables short timeframes between payroll processing and reporting deadlines
- Automation enables higher non-professional staff use, which contributes to a lower overall average fully loaded labour costs