OUTsurance, established in 1998 in South Africa, are leaders in the short-term insurance market, providing cover for car, home, and life insurance.
OUTsurance needed a solution that could increase the agility and speed at which they implemented new regulatory requirements.
Their annual report creating process was time consuming and required significant effort. Sylvia De Vries, Program Director for Finance Transformation at OUTsurance, recalls that prior to implementing Certent CDM, the reporting process was “incredibly laborious and manual,” and required a combination of Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, PowerPoint, and OneSource to pull together the numbers and narrative. “This affected the auditability, and if you made one change it didn’t all flow through automatically.”
They were also facing additional risks due to rapid changes with the Financial Services Institute and other regulators. “Organizations need to be flexible and agile enough to respond to these changes,” states De Vries, “and OUTsurance weren’t able to easily meet these demands.”
At the time, De Vries was looking for a system that would “help us be more automated.” Beginning their journey in March 2020, they had three months to go until year-end reporting and “the benefits of implementing CDM outweighed the risks of going through the old manual process, even with the added pressure of remote deployment.”
Building to Success with Certent CDM
OUTsurance had some tight timescales for their Certent CDM implementation because of both having a junior team and needing the product ready in time for their year-end reporting. Their implementation began in March 2020, which coincided with the first COVID-19 lockdown, and everyone had to adapt to remote working.
They worked with an insightsoftware customer solutions team expert, Sunet Leimecke, who De Vries describes as “very experienced and asked the correct questions, which assisted in getting the scoping correct.” This scoping was important so the team knew they would be able to have the project up and running successfully in time for year-end reporting.
“In the new world of COVID, Certent provided training virtually – this was very successful considering it was new territory for everyone,” explains De Vries. With everyone newly working from home, OUTsurance were still able to complete the implementation and successfully understand their new Certent CDM product completely. “We went into a lot of detail about the template for annual financial statements (because that’s what the project required), as well as the data sources,” recalls De Vries. The finance team was heavily involved in the project, so that, once the template had been created, responsibility could be handed off to them.
“Certent CDM has helped improve the agility and speed at which we implement new regulatory reporting requirements,” says De Vries. Certent also enabled “XBRL tagging and all the things that go alongside reporting to make sure it all comes together to meet the quality of reporting that’s required,” continues De Vries. “The ease of seeing any issues with number formatting prior to submission, saves a lot of time.”
One of the main benefits of implementing Certent CDM was the fact that it links directly to the data source. “As soon as you refresh from the SQL table, it automatically updates Certent CDM,” says De Vries, “which was a huge time saving for us.” The Excel file then updates straight away – “there’s no hard pasting of numbers, it’s all very interactive,” remarks De Vries.
OUTsurance has seen marked improvement in their reporting process as a result of implementing Certent CDM, including:
- Single source of truth: “CDM not only streamlines the individual company’s financial statement process, but also the consolidation process for our group financial statements. It has assisted with ensuring the numbers we report on are up to date and consistent across companies.” – Caitlin Hanaghan, Group Finance at OUTsurance.
- Fast time to value: Implementation, including training and delivering annual reports, in under three months.
- Time savings: Can see any issues with formatting prior to submitting reports and cut out the manual data dumping.
- Standardization: Able to standardize reporting across the organization, linking all the values instead of pasting and cross-referencing from the detailed financial statements to the supporting footnotes.
- Real-time data updates: No more manual updates.