A global food and beverage company asked Accenture to help lower its cost structure and create a financial engine that would fund the company’s future growth.

Accenture proposed replacing the company’s existing regional shared service model—where common business functions are standardized and centralized—with a consolidated Global Business Services (GBS) model—the next evolution of a shared services model that blends human+ machine capabilities to take performance to a new level. The focus was on transforming critical back-office functions—specifically Human Resources (HR) and Finance and Accounting (F&A) processes. As the deal was formalized, the company bought another food processing company to form one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world. The acquisition expanded the complexity of the GBS arrangement, but also created more opportunities to drive costs out at a global scale.​

Strategy and solution

Accenture, which had designed the GBS strategy, was tasked with overseeing Talent Management, Payroll and Employee Services processes in HR, and Accounting to Reporting (A2R) and Management Reporting in Finance.

Working together, the company and Accenture designed new capabilities by using Accenture’s SynOps, an innovative human-machine operating engine that optimizes people, technology, data and intelligence. ​Hundreds of HR and finance processes were standardized while transformative automation and analytics solutions were applied. The new capabilities were first rolled out in Europe and expanded to North America, Australia and New Zealand over the next year.​

Transforming HR

Working together, the company and Accenture:​

Harmonized processes and standardized forms, contracts and payroll cut off times.

Applied robotic process automation (RPA), eliminating bottlenecks that impede the delivery of “hire-to-retire” services.

Used automation and analytics to ensure the company met the US government’s requirements for employee recordkeeping and payroll accounting accuracy.

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Transforming F&A​

Control and compliance of all activities were secured by:

Streamlining Accounting to Reporting (A2R) processes to ensure teams meet regulatory obligations.

Increasing visibility into transactions, journal entries and finance statements—including reasons for delays.

Monitoring controls and compliance of daily deliverables to ensure activities have a timely close.

Establishing expert functional teams to spearhead performance improvements in the areas of Cash and Banking, Management Reporting and Intercompany Accounting.

Setting up an Intercompany Center of Excellence to reduce financial imbalances between entities within the company.​

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With a new GBS model, the company manages back-office HR, A2R and Reporting functions more efficiently than ever before. New and standardized processes, coupled with RPA and analytics, have led to productivity gains of 36 percent in HR and 35 percent in Finance.

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Error rates in employee correspondence plunged to less than 1%.​


Turnaround time for onboarding letters dropped 67% (from three days to one).

7 TO 1

HR compliance deficiencies fell from 7% to 1%​


50% of the company’s Journal Entry processes were automated, boosting real-time postings from 92% to 100%.


The efficiency of the reconciliation process doubled by unlocking the automation potential of the company’s existing Balance Sheet Reconciliation software. ​


Intercompany Accounting reconciliations used to take two days and now occur in real-time, with 100% accuracy.

Increased productivity translates to savings

The move to an intelligent operating model​ has significantly reduced the number of hours HR and finance professionals spend on non-strategic activities. The total number of manhours saved by standardizing and automating processes has translated into cost savings of more than $5 million to date.

The global food and beverage company is reinvesting those savings to further improve the quality and efficiency of its back-office operations and to fuel the company’s growth.

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