Outsourcing and centralizing corporate accounting -Case Aspo

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
Technological development has given more options on how to organize accounting and financial department, namely outsourcing and centralizing. This thesis studies those subjects and how those are handled in companies’ accounting. Main objective is to find out how company sees its strategy regarding these two things and how can it best utilize possibilities of outsourcing and centralization. Finding out best practices for these thing will benefit companies. Research question of the study is: How can companies best utilize outsourcing and centralizing in accounting? To answer this question, a framework is built, which shows benefits and downsides of each combination. Examples for types of companies are also named. All combinations were found suitable in specific situations. In empirical part this framework is used in a case study to see how it fits in a real life company. Case study also examines on how the company has seen these problems, how their decision-making is done and if their company is adjusted towards the kind of model that their company form would suggest or if they have different view of the alternatives of outsourcing and centralizing. The empirical part is a case study of Aspo Plc’s financial department reorganization. The case goes through different sorts of models that had been utilized during the reorganization. These models are studied through checking how they handle outsourcing and centralizing. During the whole monitoring period there was a shift from decentralized and in-housed system to a centralized and outsourced system. Therefore, this case gives views from different situations and combinations of these two aspects. Benefits that were found during the theoretical part of the study held mostly true also in empirical test. In the case example, some situations were reacted more slowly than the theory suggest and in different ways, but overall same conclusions were reach in both situations. Those conclusions suggest that in a company like Aspo, most effective way is to outsource and centralize accounting as much as possible, since cost benefits outweigh downsides that can come from these choices. This option is also most viable in general. This study gives more understanding on how to handle these two aspects as one thing and making strategies concerning both outsourcing and centralizing, not just one of them. The framework can be utilized in other similar service processes inside companies, not just financial department and accounting. This benefits all service processes that are commonly run inside the company.
Thesis advisor
Vepsäläinen, Ari
Saarinen, Timo
outsourcing, centralizing, accounting, decision-making
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