Accenture’s Business Process Outsourcing division offers interesting career to candidates speaking English together with another European language. Marián Fišera, Director of Business Processes Outsourcing division (BPO) in Accenture, explains below why he considers work in this field interesting and how it can bring professional and career growth. The Division has been operating in Slovakia for eight years now. Imagine 400 people sitting in Bratislava’s Apollo Business Center, providing Accenture clients – large companies from all over Europe – with comprehensive management of their internal processes such as procurement, finance, accounting or customer care.
In recent years, many centers that provide remote IT or business services have been moving to Asian countries. Why then is your Bratislava centre growing?
The transfer of some capacities to countries such as India or the Philippines concerns mainly positions staffed by purely English-speaking people. Our clients come from all over the old continent; therefore, our people speak not only English, but at least one other language in addition – be it German, Dutch, French, Spanish, any of the Nordic languages or those of Central and Eastern Europe. We currently serve our clients in 17 languages. Moreover, many of our clients require our proximity and the ability to visit them directly if necessary. Cultural affinity with our clients also plays an important role. This is why many companies give us preference over the geographically more remote outsourcing centers.
How did the crisis affect demand for your services?
It is true that the global economic downturn suspended our growth for some time. In the last two years, however, we have grown roughly by a quarter. We took on a hundred people since 2010, bringing the headcount today to more than 400, and we plan to recruit dozens new colleagues more in coming months. Our growth could also be attributed to our advancement – we proceed from simple operations to more strategic services. We try not only to reduce costs, but to bring higher value added – either in the form of process optimization or in the overall improvement of purchasing efficiency. We are presently an expert procurement centre, meaning that we provide a comprehensive purchasing service to our clients.
What does it entail? What do your people do for the clients?
It all starts with an analysis and optimization of the client’s purchasing needs. We also seek appropriate purchasing models, which means, for example, deciding on whether to opt for leasing or a loan, or whether the company should enter into strategic partnership with a supplier. Next, we select and prioritize suppliers, administrate catalogues and organize the actual tenders, including electronic auctions where such a purchase model is chosen. Finally, we manage orders, enter suppliers into systems, verify that the items invoiced correspond with the orders and, of course, perform the accounting of invoices as well as other financial and accounting operations.
What is the difference between being employed at some company’s purchasing department and working in Accenture’s business process outsourcing centre?
There are several differences. First of all, with us one can learn the best practices and methodologies in a given area. One can learn to function efficiently. After all, no one would purchase our services if we weren’t more efficient than the companies’ internal departments. The second difference is that with us people can work for clients from various industries ranging from aircraft, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, through machinery, finance, foodstuffs to telecom. They certainly have more opportunities to expand their horizons, learn new things and some even to travel and visit clients. This is also an advantage compared to some other service centers operating in our market, which generally provide services internally – that is, only within the organization. Thirdly, with us people can certainly grow more, not only professionally, but also in terms of career. Since our centre employs hundreds of people, we have multiple management tiers. And, last but not least, our employees can be one hundred percent sure that they will not forget the languages they speak, since we use them every day.
If one comes to you with minimum experience, what can their career growth look like?
I will use the example of a colleague who came to us seven years ago straight from school as a specialist. She later worked as a supervisor and then team leader, working on projects with various clients. Two years ago she became project manager. Today she is in charge of three projects and 60 people. Of course, nobody can expect to rule the world after one year, so to speak. But if one shows ability to communicate, solve problems and work with people and with clients, he or she will certainly get an opportunity to participate in the more complex activities and processes. Naturally, our employee development and training program plays an important role as well.
What do you personally value in this work?
I have spent nearly five years abroad, which is probably why I appreciate that the work allows me to be abroad all day in my mind and to come home to my family in the evening and spend time with them. Another thing is that being placed in charge of a client gives me an opportunity to develop a whole range of management skills – it is like running my own business. Lastly, since we generally work for the European market, we are essentially operating in a single time zone, so 98 percent of our employees have standard European working hours.
What people are you looking for now and for what jobs?
We are mostly staffing specialist jobs – from beginners to experienced specialists – but we are also looking for several people to take up the managerial posts of supervisors and team leaders. Of course, it is important to speak English and another foreign language. Economic education, though welcome, is not a must. Highschool graduates can find employment with us as well. We have the advantage that each new employee undertakes a sophisticated training program aimed not only at gaining skills, but also at becoming one with the company, if you will. Moreover, each employee gets assigned a so-called buddy for a time – an additional colleague apart from the manager to help with the first steps and to answer any questions and uncertainties.
A centre such as yours must be process-oriented. Does this leave people with a chance to show their creativity and ideas?
Outsourcing has changed since the days when an external supplier came to the customer’s premises to do what the company’s own department had been doing, and even with the same employees. Our kind of centre needs to be able to deliver to the client an increasingly higher value in the processes which we take over or in which we participate. That is why we need our people not only to be good at what they do, but also to constantly seek improvements and innovation. We have a new idea support program which rewards those who come up with ideas for improving our operation.
Why should people be interested in working for your company?
I have already mentioned many points. We enable professional and career growth; we give people the opportunity to find out what perfect work organization looks like and to use foreign languages intensively without having to work far away from home. We have a good work team and offer a range of attractive benefits, such as pay compensation beyond the statutory framework in the case of illness of an employee or an employee’s child, entitlement to various extraordinary days off, bonuses at maternity leave, marriage or childbirth, and on having worked a certain number of years. We also offer a range of traditional benefits, such as vouchers for cultural events and sports facilities or various interesting training programs.
What should a candidate do if they want to try a career at your company for themselves?
Candidates can find all the information about career options in our Division and about job vacancies at www.accenture.sk/bpo. It is, of course, a minimum prerequisite to send a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, which will also answer any questions concerning employment with our company. Those using Facebook can also click on Accenture in Slovakia.
27. Jul 2012 at 0:00