In her role as Team Leader - Finance & Administration, Sales & Marketing, Rosena Tsenova works on a daily basis with clients and candidates focused in the accounting and finance business. In this article, Rosena shares the reasons why Bulgaria has become a magnet for shared services centers, what are the advantages of working in these companies and what are the most sought-after skills among candidates.
Recently, we have seen the active opening and expansion of many international shared service centers in the country. What are the reasons for this ongoing trend?
Indeed, the last few years have seen strong growth in shared service centers with a focus on financial and accounting operations. Bulgaria has become a magnet for multinational companies optimizing and automating their processes. Existing centers are increasing their teams dramatically, there are also new ones that are still opening new outsourcing units. There is a tendency for the new centers to be part of companies that are already on the Bulgarian market and know well how business works in the country. There are many other factors that favour being chosen as a destination for shared financial and accounting services. The leading factors are the good business climate in Bulgaria, the availability of qualified staff, proficient in languages, a time zone that allows communication with several continents. Fast internet and good infrastructure are also not to be ignored when choosing our country.
The quality of the work makes Bulgarian employees the preferred staff compared to other markets that offer outsourcing opportunities.
This has led to high demand for staff and increased competition between companies to offer better conditions and benefits. We have seen a dramatic increase in salaries in the sector.
The pandemic has changed the way of working in a lot of companies, many of them have introduced digitalization of processes and the possibility of remote working. These processes have further driven companies to accelerate optimization and the creation of shared business service centers.
Is there a difference between the job descriptions of finance and accounting professionals working in shared service centers and those operating in other types of businesses?
There are several significant differences in the organizational workflow and allocation of responsibilities in a shared service center compared to a traditional finance and accounting department structure in a company. There is a great deal of segmentation of operations in the centers in order to make the process faster and reject a greater volume of work. The individual specialist has a focus of responsibilities and this allows them to be quite precise in their work. Usually there are specialists in the centers responsible only for revenue or expenditure payment documents, others who focus on analysis or preparation of financial reports and summaries. The range of positions is large and employees can focus on a narrow specialization that profiles them in what they do. There are many more opportunities for career growth and rotations in different areas, unlike standard departments where the managerial role is mainly held by the finance manager or chief accountant.
What are the most in-demand soft and technical skills in the industry?
Language proficiency is a basic requirement for working in financial shared service centers. English is the leading language and any other language brings an added advantage. Higher education in finance and accounting is also key, not only in terms of accumulated knowledge, but also as a basis for career development in this segment. In the recruitment process for this type of companies, the motivation of the candidates is important because they will go through a lot of training and will have the opportunity to develop within the company structures.
The ability to work with different systems and software is an important element, as in most cases the work is automated and requires rapid adaptation to these processes. In addition, various new systems are being implemented to make employees' jobs easier, but also require attention to detail and additional verification.
Another basic skill is communication. Professionals in these types of departments have to communicate with colleagues from different teams on a daily basis, sometimes on a global level.
The desire to acquire new knowledge and skills is key. For a financial outsourcing center to start operating, it is necessary to transfer processes and operations that have been operating in other countries. This period is quite challenging, but often the people involved gain valuable experience that is increasingly in demand because of the large growth of these types of centers in the country.
Benefits of working in a shared service center
Working in this type of company gives employees many benefits. Being able to communicate with colleagues from all over the world and having the opportunity for career growth and stability are just some of them. Financial shared service centers offer a number of social benefits and strive to develop their employees with training and programs for satisfaction and retention. Many have excellent employee induction programmes, this is one of the reasons they are favoured by young talents who are just starting their careers in the sector. In quite a large number of companies there is the possibility of working from home or other flexible options, which is increasingly demanded by candidates.