Managed Business Services: A Strategic Response to the Unexpected

By Robert Half on June 26, 2018 at 10:34am

Businesses rarely enjoy excess resources for their accounting and finance operations. They keep their core teams focused on day-to-day tasks and critical priorities, leveraging technology, where possible, to help them work more efficiently and bringing in consultants and interim professionals when workloads rise.

This lean approach can work well until a major business event or an unexpected problem occurs that requires the organization to align significant operating and/or consulting expertise for its accounting and finance teams on short notice — and maybe for an extended period.

A big spike in transaction volume, unusual key account balances or a major backlog in need of cleanup are just some examples of business “surprises” that require immediate attention. Performance issues are another red alert, especially if the business can’t readily identify the root causes for bottlenecks, missed deadlines and mistakes. Other situations, such as the need to stand up a new department following a divestiture, can also demand that businesses pull together a highly skilled team fast.

One simple and flexible response that organizations rely on to meet these and other accounting and finance challenges head-on is Managed Business Services.

Managed Business Services: How it works

Robert Half, in collaboration with Protiviti, a Robert Half subsidiary, provides Managed Business Services, where Protiviti delivers expertise to companies in areas such as accounting, finance, business performance, analytics, risk and compliance, and mergers and acquisitions, while Robert Half provides specialized operational resources where needed.

For each engagement, a senior Protiviti consultant oversees the combined Protiviti and Robert Half team of consultants — assembled according to a company’s needs — and handles all planning, onboarding, scheduling, training and quality control duties related to that assignment. As needed, the team also will employ technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and other best practices to achieve greater operational efficiencies.

“Our teams can support and aid an organization’s accounting and finance functions,” explains Melissa Shipman, vice president, Managed Business Services, at Robert Half Management Resources. “We assemble custom-tailored teams to help solve specific problems. And after we accomplish what we’ve been asked to do, we depart just as quickly and efficiently as when we first arrived.”

Shipman says that throughout their engagements, Managed Business Services teams provide detailed metrics and reporting to the company’s management team to show exactly what has been resolved or enhanced. “They don’t have to wait for weeks to see what improvements have been made,” she says. “They can closely monitor incremental changes on an ongoing basis.”

Managed Business Services in action

Companies of all sizes employ Managed Business Services teams to handle a wide range of accounting and finance challenges, including in areas such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash management, order management and logistics, and travel and entertainment. Here are some examples of how Managed Business Services teams have helped, or are currently supporting, organizations:

Revenue cycle improvement

A fast-growing healthcare firm that had been recently acquired was struggling to manage revenue cycle processes at several of its companies. With help from Managed Business Services, it built an entirely new revenue cycle structure to support business expansion in a highly regulated environment. The firm subsequently saw its claim-rejected rate drop from 11 percent to 5 percent, and accounts receivable fell 9 percent.

Business performance improvement

A local utility wanted to implement RPA technology in its accounting and finance organization to increase efficiencies, drive innovation and optimize team performance. The utility engaged a Managed Business Services team to support the RPA software implementation during a pilot program and help set the foundation for a wider rollout. The team is also assisting the organization with change management as it realigns its finance function.

Post-acquisition financial integration

After being acquired, a large healthcare organization found that its accounting and finance teams were stretched thin. They not only had difficulty keeping up with daily demands but also faced new financial reporting requirements and a business system conversion. The organization needed more support and an array of specialized expertise, so it brought in Managed Business Services consultants to assist with compliance tasks, project management, system implementation, staff training and more.

The need for flexibility in the workforce of the future

Jay Thompson, managing director of Managed Business Services at Protiviti, says the Managed Business Services model provides a way for organizations to have access — for as long as needed — to a knowledgeable organization that understands the business and its challenges.

He says, “Companies need flexible workforces because business today changes so fast. They must stay nimble, and they need reliable teams to help them solve problems quickly. Through Managed Business Services, they can deploy a fully scalable team of skilled professionals in their accounting and finance operations for just as long as they want and need them.”

Many business leaders are already embracing new and diverse staffing strategies, like the “human cloud,” a network of interim, contract and freelance professionals who seek project and finite engagements and are available on-demand.

Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, says, “Persistent talent shortages, the growing amount of project-based work, and the rapid pace of change in both business and technology have many CFOs and other executives leaning more often, and more heavily, on consultants and interim professionals who can provide in-demand skills and expertise on demand.”

Looking for a simple approach to solving complex problems?

Visit the Managed Business Services website to find out more about this strategic staffing solution, what to expect when you partner with us, and how to request talent to solve your business challenges.

Webinar: The Finance Labor Model in the Digital Age

Traditional staffing models are changing. But what does that mean for CFOs? And how can finance leaders successfully prepare their teams to handle disruptive change?

For answers to these questions and other insights, view the on-demand webinar, “The Finance Model in the Digital Age,” featuring Hird, Thompson and executives from Microsoft’s internal audit and finance operations teams.

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