Shared Services Organization Structure

The Organizational Design of a Shared Services Group: Definitions, Roles & Responsibilities

Shared Services Organization Chart & Structure

Shared Services Organizational Structure Outline & Definitions

Shared Services Organization Chart Template

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Shared Services

Shared Services refers to a group of centralized, non-revenue-generating operations that support multiple divisions, or lines of business, of the company. This centralization (i.e., employees grouped in a single, central location) of support services allows these resources to be "shared" across the organization, and are typically associated with lower costs, higher productivity and increased standardization of work processes and outputs. . Shared Services organizations typically include Finance, Master Data Management and Human Resources. In some cases, Shared Services organizations may also perform Procurement, Legal, and Information Technology-related tasks as well.

Common Shared Services job titles: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Information Officer (CIO)


A Finance Department manages a firm's long-term and day-to-day monetary operations and strategy. Finance groups oversee incoming and outgoing payments, budget creation, cash management (treasury), accounting, financial reporting and many other tasks related to the finances of the company. Finance organization size varies based upon total company-wide head count, company revenue, industry, and overall business strategy.

Common Finance job titles: Chief Financial Officer (CFO), EVP/SVP of Finance, Director of Finance

Accounts Payable (AP)

The Accounts Payable, or A/P, function is responsible for keeping the lights on and ensuring that all company vendors are paid in full and on time. They process invoices, cut checks and manage relationships with creditors. It is important, from a vendor management perspective, to ensure that debts are paid on-time and in full to avoid default and strained relationships with third party suppliers.

Common Accounts Payable (AP) job titles: Accounts Payable Analyst, Accounts Payable Clerk, Accounts Payable Specialist, Accounting Clerk

Accounts Receivable (AR)

The Accounts Receivable, or A/R, function is responsible for collecting payments from customers or clients for goods or services provided. Some clients/customers may be extended a line of credit. The A/R group is tasked with ensuring that payments are made within the terms outlined in the original invoice or contract (e.g., net 30 days). When clients/customers fail to meet these terms, they are referred to the Collections Department (or a Collections Agency) and may face additional fees or penalties.

Common Accounts Receivable (AR) job titles: Billing Specialist, Accounts Receivable Clerk, Accounts Receivable Analyst, Accounting Technician

Accounting & Reporting (Controller Group)

The Controller Group is responsible for maintaining a company's books and ensuring that all business transactions are properly recorded and managed. The general ledger is the main source for all of the company's financial reports, so it is important that the Financial Controller and other staff accountants keep an organized record of all credits and debits (a double-entry general ledger 'journal'). The Controller Group also performs tasks such as cost accounting and fixed assets accounting.

Common Accounting & Reporting (Controller Group) job titles: Bookkeeper, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Staff Accountant, Accounting Analyst, Accountant

Budgeting & Forecasting

The Budgeting and Forecasting Group is responsible for producing and assessing a company's budget by calculating the variance between planned and actual costs. They also forecast the revenue and expenses of certain groups or functions, allowing budget 'owners' to plan and prioritize spending. The Forecasting Group also produces 'what if' scenarios to prepare the company for a variety of possibilities.

Common Budgeting & Forecasting job titles: Budget Analyst, Budgeting & Forecasting Analyst, Staff Accountant, Cost Engineer, Financial Analyst

Expense Management

The Expense Management Group is responsible for monitoring and auditing all employee-initiated expenses. Expenses can include travel, lodging, entertainment and food. The group is also responsible for outlining and enforcing policies related to employee expenses, and in many cases, implementing an automated expense management system (software; SaaS) to improve efficiency.

Common Expense Management job titles: Expense Report Auditor, Travel and Expense Processor, Expense Analyst, Expense Processor

Internal Audit & Compliance

The Internal Audit & Compliance Group is responsible for overseeing a company's financial operations to ensure that they are in line with internal and external policies and regulations. Legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has increased pressure on finance functions to improve reporting performance and internal audit quality/frequency.

Common Internal Audit & Compliance job titles: Auditor, Compliance Resolution Analyst, Financial Compliance Analyst, Internal Audit Manager


The Tax function is responsible for managing and planning all tax-related expenses. The circumstances that surround tax management can be complicated, especially when taking into account the various rules of taxation dealt with by companies that operate globally. The function also ensures that all tax payments are in compliance with any government requirements to avoid interest fees or penalties.

Common Tax job titles: Tax Accountant, Tax Analyst, Tax Associate, Tax Preparer, Staff Accountant

Treasury Management

Also known as Cash Management, the Treasury Group manages all of the company's assets to maximize liquidity and reduce risk. The group is responsible for ensuring that a company has a steady cash flow and for securing any funding that may be needed. The group may also explore investment options for excess cash.

Common Treasury Management job titles: Treasurer, Treasury Analyst, Treasury Specialist, Treasury Operations Analyst


The Payroll Group is responsible for the administration and documentation of all salaries, wages, bonuses and deductions (payroll tax, social security) received by employees. Though this group is commonly outsourced or carried out within the HR group, if the business is small, payroll may be handled directly by the owner or an associate.

Common Payroll job titles: Payroll Specialist, Payroll Clerk, Payroll Processor, Payroll Officer

Human Resources (HR)

The Human Resources (HR) Department is responsible for personnel sourcing, hiring, training, skill development, benefits administration and compliance with applicable national, regional and local laws. In short, the HR Group is responsible for the attraction, training and wellbeing (to a certain extent) of its 'customers' - the employees of the company. The HR function is also sometimes referred to as "Human Capital Management" or "Talent Management."

Common Human Resources (HR) job titles: Human Resources Manager, HR Executive Officer, Human Resources Assistant

Benefits & Compensation

The Benefits and Compensation function concerns itself with employee compensation (wages, salaries, bonuses) and related benefits, such as health insurance, life insurance, 401Ks and other benefits (financial or non-financial). The group compares their company's compensation packages to those of similar firms and adjusts their packages based on those findings. The Benefits and Compensation Group sometimes also manages incentive-based compensation programs.

Common Benefits & Compensation job titles: HR Compensation Analyst, HR Benefits Analyst, Payroll & Benefits Administrator, Benefits Manager

Employee Relations (ER)

The Employee Relations function is responsible for managing the various interactions between employers and employees. They also resolve workplace disputes (from simple disciplinary matters to complex litigation) and manage relationships with temporary employees, trade associations and labor unions.

Common Employee Relations (ER) job titles: Employee & Labor Relations Specialist, HR Representative, Employee Relations Manager, Labor Relations Coordinator

Human Capital Management (HCM)

Human capital management (HCM) focuses on the practices and processes to manage people in an organization effectively. This function manages and makes decisions related to compensation packages, staffing levels/requirements, employee performance management and minority representation. In some cases the HCM function is also responsible for maintaining HR information systems, such as PeopleSoft, Workday, or Taleo.

Common Human Capital Management (HCM) job titles: Human Capital Management Consultant, Human Capital Management Analyst, Human Capital Management Specialist, Human Capital Management Associate

HR Generalists

HR generalists manage the day-to-day HR activities, such as maintaining HR information system records and compiling reports from the database, developing department goals, objectives and systems, scheduling interviews and performing other, related activities as required and assigned.

Common HR Generalists job titles: HR Generalist, HR Coordinator, HR Admin, HR Manager

Training & Development

The Training and Development function seeks to maximize company performance by training and continuously improving the competencies of its employees. In some cases, the group may train existing employees to take over new positions. The three main focuses of the Training and Development Group are, not surprisingly, employee training (current job), education (future job) and development (continued success).

Common Training & Development job titles: Training Coordinator, HR Specialist, Training Specialist, Resource Specialist

Recruiting & Hiring

The Recruiting and Hiring function attracts, screens and selects talent for open positions within the company. They identify vacancies, develop position descriptions, formulate a strategic recruitment plan, review/screen applicants and, finally, select individuals to be hired. Upon selection of a new candidate, Recruiting and Hiring employees will provide an offer and handle any subsequent salary negotiations.

Common Recruiting & Hiring job titles: Recruiter, HR Assistant, Recruiting Specialist, Recruiting Coordinator

Information Technology (IT)

An Information Technology, or IT, Department develops, manages and maintains an organization's technology-related assets (hardware, software, systems, etc.), policies, procedures and systems. This includes, but is not limited to, the administration of company email systems, business intelligence and enterprise resource planning [ERP] platforms, network setup, data backup and retrieval and document storage. The group also provides employees with day-to-day technology support to ensure that technology-related problems do not interfere with their work.

Common Information Technology (IT) job titles: Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Application Development

The Application Development Group defines application architecture and develops programs and systems to meet business needs/requirements that are defined by the systems analysis team (through interviews with end users and stakeholders). They use research and user testing to fine tune applications to meet specific, detailed use cases.

Common Application Development job titles: Systems Analyst, Business Analyst, Systems Engineer, Application Developer

Application Management

Application management refers to the ongoing support (for users and infrastructure) of existing company systems, such as ERP or CRM software. Tasks carried out by the Application Management team include bug fixes, patches, minimal enhancements (typically 2 weeks or less), code refactoring, etc. This group may also be responsible for maintaining infrastructure (servers, storage, memory, etc.) related to company systems.

Common Application Management job titles: Application Developer, Quality Assurance Engineer, IT Application Analyst, Associate Developer

Business Intelligence (BI)

The Business Intelligence (BI) Group designs and develops databases and applications that pool, extract and analyze large amounts of data to provide management with insights on the overall performance of the organization as well as information on markets and competitors. They use tools like SAP, Oracle and plain SQL databases to manage company data and produce reports. The BI Group works with management to create dashboards and develop data collection methods. "Big Data" technologies, such as Hadoop, are gaining popularity in the enterprise community due to their ability to quickly analyze large, unstructured data sets.

Common Business Intelligence (BI) job titles: Business Intelligence Developer, Data Warehouse Manager, Data Analyst, Data Scientist

IT Management & Administration

The IT Management and Administration function oversees IT initiatives to ensure that all technology-related projects run smoothly and align with overall company strategy. They perform strategic planning and recommend courses of action for technology-related improvements. The group creates schedules, defines the scope and budget (usual project management tasks) and oversees IT projects from end to end.

Common IT Management & Administration job titles: Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, Enterprise Architect, IT Project Manager

IT Procurement

The IT Procurement function manages the purchasing of technology-related assets and analyzes the point at which hardware/software should be replaced, based on total cost of ownership (TCO) and capabilities/features. Nearly all information technology projects involve procurement for hardware, software or services. A clear understanding of procurement contracts and vendor requirements, therefore, are important but often forgotten requirements for IT departments.

Common IT Procurement job titles: Purchasing Agent, Procurement Officer, Procurement Specialist, Associate Director of IT Procurement

IT Security

The IT Security Group is responsible for defining, communicating and enforcing technology-related policies, standards and procedures. They are tasked with mitigating risk related to internal and external data breaches and cyber attacks. IT Security teams also work to develop security incident management plans and ensure that all technology-related projects meet defined security requirements. Robust system and network security is especially vital in industries such as banking, consumer finance and insurance, where large amounts of private data (social security numbers, bank account information, etc.) reside in company systems.

Common IT Security job titles: Cybersecurity Analyst, Information Security Analyst, Information Security Engineer, IT Security Officer

Network Administration

The IT Network Administration Group manages the company's technology 'backbone' - its data centers and networks. They plan, design, implement and maintain server configurations, routing protocols, network configurations and storage environments to facilitate the needs of the organization. They also configure server backups, monitor network use statistics and loads, and implement contingency plans to minimize network and system downtime. The network administration team also works closely with the IT Security Group to ensure that company servers and networks meet or exceed established security requirements.

Common Network Administration job titles: Network Engineer, Network Administrator, Systems Administrator, IT Infrastructure Manager

Systems Analyst & Architecture

The Systems Analysis Group works with end users, business unit managers and customers to understand business needs and develop requirements and specifications for systems and applications. Systems analysts act as intermediaries between technical developers (see application development & support) and end users in hopes of aligning business needs with system design and usability. Activities commonly performed by the Systems Analysis Group include use case development, business process mapping & design, end user/stakeholder interviews, and system modeling (UML, SysML, etc.).

Common Systems Analyst & Architecture job titles: Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, Systems Engineer, System Administrator

User Support & Services

The User Support and Services Group (commonly referred to as IT Support or Tech Support) provides technology assistance to internal customers (the company's employees). They set up hardware and software, troubleshoot technical issues and perform root cause analysis to reduce instances of technical problems. In some cases, the Tech Support Group may also be responsible for hardware and software procurement and asset management (licenses, warranties, etc.). More advanced, application-specific technology issues are typically handled by the Application Management team (see above).

Common User Support & Services job titles: Technical Support Specialist, IT Support Administrator, Desktop Support Specialist/Analyst, Help Desk Support Technician/Associate


The Corporate Legal Department (internal) oversees a firm's litigation and compliance with internal and external regulations and laws. In some cases, an internal Corporate Legal Group may also handle intellectual property issues (trademarks, copyrights, patents), risk management and/or corporate governance. Certain legal functions may be outsourced to an external law firm.

Common Legal job titles: Chief Legal Officer (CLO)

Corporate Governance

The Corporate Governance Group is tasked with creating the system of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled (governed). They must balance the interests of and assign responsibilities to many groups of stakeholders in the company, including shareholders, board members, C-Suite staff, upper management (SVP, EVP, VP), customers, suppliers, government entities and community members.

Common Corporate Governance job titles: Paralegal, Document Production Specialist, Licensing Specialist, Regulatory Analyst

Government Affairs

The Government, or Legislative, Affairs function is responsible for managing relationships with key local, state and federal government officials as well as trade associations. They develop response procedures for possible legislative issues that could arise and assist in developing educational programs for employees to help them to understand relevant public policy issues. In some cases, government affairs staff may manage political contributions and lobbyists.

Common Government Affairs job titles: Industry Relations Coordinator, Government Relations Specialist, Government Legislative Analyst, Local Government Relationship Manager

Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property Group protects the company's intangible assets such as trade secrets, company slogans and logos (trademarks), inventions (patents), publications and writings (copyright). They are responsible for pursuing unauthorized use of these assets. They are also responsible for ensuring that the company does not infringe on the intellectual property of other companies or individuals.

Common Intellectual Property job titles: Patent Researcher, Knowledge Management Specialist, Intellectual Property Counsel, Intellectual Property Attorney, Intellectual Property Licensing Specialist, Patent Counsel

Legal Administrative Support

The Legal Administrative Support Group is responsible for setting up a structure in which all legal documents (i.e., contracts, NDAs, etc.) are created, shared, organized, stored and secured. They work to set up and maintain document management systems (DMS) that are able to handle both electronic and paper documents. The Legal Administrative Support Group also ensures that employees and business units have attained all necessary licenses/education to operate in their field and provide general support to the company's stable of attorneys.

Common Legal Administrative Support job titles: Paralegal, Document Production Specialist, Document Manager, Licensing Specialist

Litigation Management

The Litigation Management Group performs the traditional courtroom work associated with lawsuits on behalf of the company. This includes research, discovery, depositions, settlements and trial work. Typically, the Litigation Management function deals with civil (non-criminal) cases.

Common Litigation Management job titles: Corporate Litigator, Litigation Support Analyst, Corporate Attorney, Corporate Legal Analyst

Mergers & Acquisitions

The Mergers and Acquisitions Group is tasked with defining strategies for potential mergers with other companies and buying out smaller companies. They work to research and define both the risks and advantages of purchasing or combining companies to achieve cost savings, expansion and improved capital structures.

Common Mergers & Acquisitions job titles: Staff Attorney, Business Analyst, Acquisition Analyst, Financial Analyst

Master Data Management

The Master Data Management function is responsible for managing the structure, quality and use of data by both internal (in the company) and external users (clients, customers), often by means of database tools, GUI-based user interfaces and other internal data storage or management systems/architectures. The Master Data Management function relies heavily on the Information Technology (IT) Team and the company's existing technological infrastructure (servers, network connection, encryption algorithm) to store, export and analyze data collected from various sources, both internal and external.

Common Master Data Management job titles: Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Database Engineering & Management

The Database Engineering and Management function is responsible for the conception, modelling and creation (i.e., programming) of a database, as well as data analysis, database documentation and administration of the database. Their duties may also include the installation of enterprise database management system software across multiple operating environments, evaluating existing systems and handling database upgrades or reconfigurations.

Common Database Engineering & Management job titles: Application Developer, Software Developer, Database Administrator, Development Engineer

Data Governance & Control

The Data Governance and Control function is responsible for developing company-wide policies regarding data use and setting standards for data quality and security. They work with business units to maintain analytical and reporting capabilities by enforcing the quality, consistency and cleanliness of the data that they produce and manage. They may also coordinate across organizational groups communicate and enforce data naming conventions, recordation methods, and metadata inputs to foster cross-organizational data sharing and comparability.

Common Data Governance & Control job titles: Data Governance Specialist, Data Quality Analyst, Data Analyst, Data Governance Program Manager

Enterprise Architecture (EA)

The Enterprise Architecture (EA) Group is responsible for defining the structure and operation of an organization by documenting and integrating the business processes of internal groups (HR, Finance, IT) with information technology (IT) systems and applications. In short, they are tasked with aligning company systems with actual, real-world business needs, or requirements. EA team members work with both day-to-day business users and IT application developers to perform business process analysis and improvements that can then be implemented into automated workflow management systems, business intelligence applications and other internal systems. Enterprise Architects work diligently to ensure that IT projects meet the strategic needs of the business.

Common Enterprise Architecture (EA) job titles: Enterprise Architect, Systems Administrator, IT Architect, Software Architect

Information Architecture (IA)

Information Architecture (IA) refers to the structural design of data - database system architecture, naming/labeling conventions, definitions and standards for the collection, storage, retrieval and use of information. In a business setting, Information Architects are responsible for designing the structure of company database systems and ensuring that the information is stored in a way that will allow for meaningful use by business end users. They work closely with business users and other internal stakeholders to understand their strategic needs and translate them into requirements as they relate to data storage and quality.

Common Information Architecture (IA) job titles: Data Engineer, Information Architect, Systems Administrator, Data Architect


The Procurement function purchases products (raw materials, components, large machinery, software, etc.) from vendors to satisfy internal (inside the company) and external (customers) demand. After a need is identified, the Procurement Group is responsible for identifying and screening potential suppliers, selecting a supplier, negotiating terms of payment and arranging any logistical concerns (shipping, delivery, installation, training, etc.). Procurement employees are also tasked with monitoring the performance of company suppliers as it relates to the terms of the contract that governs the relationship with the vendor.

Common Procurement job titles: EVP/SVP of Supply Chain Operations, Chief Procurement Officer, Director of Strategic Sourcing

Logistics Management

The Logistics Management function works with suppliers to facilitate the efficient and timely delivery of purchased goods. They manage distribution channels and delivery methods to reduce "hidden" costs associated with purchasing, including the transportation and storage of purchased goods. Many times, companies use specialized third party logistics firms (brokers) to manage the flow of materials and reduce costs. Once goods arrive at company facilities, logistics staff members inspect the order to ensure completeness (check against purchase order) and quality, then send the invoice to the company's Accounts Payable Department for payment.

Common Logistics Management job titles: Logistics Specialist, Logistics Coordinator, Logistics Analyst, Supply Analyst

Strategic Sourcing

The Strategic Sourcing function develops overall company procurement policies and standards while constantly striving to improve the performance of purchasing functions. They analyze market conditions to develop criteria for vendor/supplier certification, monitor demand for certain goods or materials to produce forecasts and implement supply structures. They constantly measure results and revise procurement strategies to create a competitive advantage, reduce procurement costs and improve overall supply chain performance.

Common Strategic Sourcing job titles: Strategic Sourcing Analyst, Sourcing Analyst/Specialist, Strategic Sourcing Specialist, Manager of Purchasing & Strategic Sourcing

Vendor Compliance & Audit

The Vendor Compliance and Audit function assesses vendor performance and standards to ensure that they meet requirements set forth by industry regulatory agencies and/or company management. Vendors, or suppliers, are judged on several criteria, including quality management practices, delivery performance (Is the shipment on-time, complete, in good order? Was advanced shipment notification [ASN] received?), facility productivity and safety, and distance to company facilities/receiving locations. Effective vendor screening can improve materials availability, overall product quality and manufacturing productivity.

Common Vendor Compliance & Audit job titles: Procurement Specialist, Procurement Compliance Specialist, Compliance & Risk Officer, Compliance Specialist

Vendor Contract Management

Vendor Contract Management employees are tasked with creating, negotiating, analyzing and managing contracts with vendors or suppliers in order to maximize performance (financial and operational) and minimize risk. They work to ensure that supplier contracts have well defined performance criteria that can be tracked throughout the life of the contract to determine if the supplier is meeting their end of the bargain. Supplier performance criteria can include on-time deliveries, material quality, consistent pricing levels and request for quote response times.

Common Vendor Contract Management job titles: Vendor Contract Administrator, Vendor Relations Coordinator, Vendor Contract Specialist, Contract Analyst

Vendor Identification & Management

The Vendor Identification and Management Group identifies and onboards suppliers by comparing the pricing and quality against the goods being purchased, as well as certain criteria set by the company (supplier/vendor certification criteria). Once a vendor is retained, the Vendor Identification and Management Group maintains a working relationship with them, continuously monitoring their performance. Typically, vendor management involves ensuring that prices remain competitive and that the vendor is meeting service level agreements (SLAs) and other quality standards set during the initial contract negotiation and onboarding process.

Common Vendor Identification & Management job titles: Vendor Management Analyst, Vendor Management Specialist, Vendor Manager, Vendor Relationship Manager