” I am an Outsourcing Professional” – Georgeta Diaconu
Georgeta Diaconu is Finance Director for Europe Shared Service Center at Federal-Mogul Friction Services and she kindly accepted Outsourcing Advisors invitation to share with our community a few insights from her experience as Outsourcing Professional.
O.A. In the past 16 years you accumulated an impressive experience in accounting and financial services working for companies like Honeywell, ADP and now Federal-Mogul Motorparts Friction Services where you lead as Finance Director at their Europe Shared Service Center. How was it to make the transition to a shared service type of business? Which were the main challenges?
G.D. I will start with a short history. My career started as a tax consultant and after two years in a Romanian company I joined a Honeywell turbochargers manufacturing plant as a senior accountant. After six years in the field of accounting, taxation, reporting, I joined Honeywell’s shared service center to manage one of the teams, which was newly created at that time. I remember that this career change was a little bit overwhelming because of a totally different set of responsibilities and exposure. I am a self-learner, and I like to deliver quality in everything I do. With my managers and my team support I transitioned successfully. I was involved in a lot of improvement projects, I created rules and procedures for the processes run from the center. The transition from a traditional accounting job to a shared service job requires you to adapt a working style to a new environment and new customers. You are conscious that every activity is measured against KPI’s. Also, this change opens new windows towards the latest trends (new automation and standardization tools, ERPs updates) which you need to be able to learn about and implement very fast.
The new role that I have now, as Finance Director of Europe Shared Service Center of Federal-Mogul Motorparts is a recognition of the sound knowledge and professional experience accumulated so far. The main challenges are related to the business processes that have to be centralized and standardized and at the same time, build an internal relationship network with my colleagues who are abroad. Furthermore, the team needs to be integrated and consolidated as some of them are new to the company.
O.A. What is different in your current role vs. previous ones? What benefits do you see in terms of leadership development?
G.D. In my current role I have an extended area to coordinate including Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and General Ledger. Regarding the leadership development, there is a lot to be said, but the main benefit is that whatever challenge you might have, you learn to solve problems, to have a wider approach from different perspectives, to be customer focused, to keep the team united and motivated, to define and measure the risks and diminish them. Learning and development is fortunately an integral part of Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ self-perception.
O.A. Which is your vision about your unit’s future development?
G.D. My vision for this shared service center is bold, we would want to become a role model for the company’s finance community, to be able to establish best practices and to offer services at very high quality standards.
O.A. Is it challenging to find good candidates for your Shared Service Center? How do you attract and retain talents in your organization?
G.D. Being in this industry for such a long time, I can see that recruitment is becoming more and more challenging, and there are some jobs where we need more than three months to fill in. Sometimes it is not just about good candidates but the candidate needs to have good chemistry with the direct manager and the team. The retention tools are aligned with what the outsourcing industry provides but it is important also to create a stable working environment and to open multiple communication channels between the employees and management.
O.A. As a woman leader focused on financial services – do you see challenges in terms of keeping your personal life/professional life balance? Any tips here?
G.D. My life is divided between my family and my job, there isn’t an equilibrium all the time, sometimes I am more in one side and less in the other and vice versa. When there are deadlines and top priorities at the job, I am there. After long hours in the office, I go home but not to rest, as my lovely ones wait for me to play, to speak, to read stories. It can be just one hour spent with them, but it is with love and joy. The only advice I can give is that home life can sometimes be like work life: share responsibilities and delegate, ask for help, “outsource” housekeeping, plan in advance.
O.A. Recently you participated in the Romanian Outsourcing Summit. Do you have any suggestion for the local outsourcing community?
G.D. During the outsourcing summit it was discussed a lot about education, quality of labor force and high demand for skilled employees in Bucharest and Tier 1 cities. All these points are valid and justified for this phase of growth and expansion, but the outsourcing community should start to think about the young and dynamic generation and when they will move in another age interval. Will the industry prepared to reconcile employees behaviors coming from generation X, millennials and generation Z?