— Submitted by: Kevin Lightfoot, vice president, external communications ACS, a Xerox company

My reaction to the e-mail that popped into my Inbox was mixed.

At first I was thrilled to see that ACS inked a services deal with Atos Origin for the next seven years. And then I was a bit worried how observers would interpret the deal. How would they perceive ACS – the world’s most diversified BPO & ITO provider – signing a contract with Atos Origin, a key player in the ITO sector?

Then it hit me – I realized both the industry observers and the principals who signed this deal were smarter than I was. They would immediately see this as a smart move on behalf of Atos because it would allow the European firm to focus on its core business, providing information technology management services to its clients and leave the backroom finance and accounting work to ACS.

It all made sense.

Like many companies positioning itself for the economic rebound, Atos is streamlining its operations and becoming the service provider its clients want it to be.  The company is focusing on long-term performance and profitability and getting out of the business of running its own back office administrative duties. It will now hand off accounts payable, accounts receivables and a host of other general accounting duties to ACS.

Why? Because we’re good at it.

On average, ACS processes more than $420 billion (U.S. dollars) in payables for companies around the world every year, plus processing payrolls for half a million employees in 12 different countries.  That’s a lot of finance and accounting experience – and that’s part of our core business.

— Kevin Lightfoot, vice president, external communications ACS, a Xerox company