Accenture will provide Microsoft with credit and collection services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) under a five-year business process outsourcing contract the two companies signed recently. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Under the terms of the contract, Accenture will manage the processes associated with receivables and collections from Microsoft’s business customers and channel partners throughout EMEA. Accenture will also provide support for Microsoft’s credit analysis, cash application, customer data management and associated business intelligence reporting processes.
The technology supporting the services consists of a sophisticated suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP), invoicing and receivables management applications all running on the latest Microsoft platform.
Accenture is a long time Microsoft partner on the selling side so it isn’t surprising that Microsoft turned to them for outsourcing, but the question is why did Microsoft feel the need for outsourcing this function in the first place? Ovum has some analysis:
We assume complexity of work was one of the drivers behind the deal. Microsoft’s indirect channel is huge. This means that management of account receivables must be a costly and time-consuming activity. The size of the contract is hard to quantify. Microsoft has 5,000 employees in general and administration, and derives 32% of its revenues from outside of the US. But certainly, this is big deal for Accenture.
And the implication, of course, is that Accenture has better tools and/or cheaper employees to handle the work.