The Polish lesson: 470 Global BPO and Shared Service Centers
The fact that businesses require increasingly globalized outsourcing solutions is beyond question. These days, some companies are "born global", others achieve globalism or have globalism thrust upon them.
The speed of information transfer, efficiency of control and economy of scale are all reasons why businesses regard the incorporation of global solutions as part of their competitive strategy.
One of the most remarkable changes in Poland over the last five years has been the tremendous investment in Poland as a center for global BPO and shared service centers (SSCs), writes David James for Warsaw Business Journal.
Poland has been able to develop this industry in a spectacular way as a result of its education system, communication infrastructure, and even the hands-on experience of Poles returning from working in the UK.
All these factors accumulate to make this country a fertile ground for this new industry. There are 470 centers and over 150,000 employees working in the sector, serving thousands of businesses from all over the world.
We can say that India has truly had to move over to make room for the Polish outsourcing tiger. There do, however, remain certain problems and issues in the sector which is why some audit firms have developed a raft of solutions especially for the industry and its clients.
The first is the problem of localizing services. After all, it is all very well having your accounts ready to trial in a foreign country but how will people sitting in Poland know about the specific requirements in the company's country of residence?
We have the issue of language but this is usually solved by the fact that Polish centers are home to nationals from dozens of countries from around the world. A more challenging issue is how to deal with indirect and direct taxation and how to make the accounts seem like they were produced across the street when Mr Kuiypers in the local tax office in the Netherlands looks at them?
The remaining issue is auditing – it is not easy for most international audit companies to service SSCs as the systems in most firms require teams of auditors to be flown in from all the respective countries – after all most audit firms are networks run out of the UK or US and are mostly concerned about liability therefore, each country undergoes its own processes.
This adds significantly to the cost and brings in unexpected complexity.
Businesses who would like to begin a global BPO or SSC project and who are considering a choice of providers to help them, can and should obtain independent advice in order to weigh up the pros and cons of different solutions.
David J. James is director of international desks at Mazars in Poland