by Liam O'Brien
IFRS 17 Series #6 - Your project approach
Welcome to the final part of the IFRS 17 Series where we go through an essential aspect to achieving success with IFRS 17, your project approach.Read more
Welcome to the final part of the IFRS 17 Series where we go through an essential aspect to achieving success with IFRS 17, your project approach.
Hi, Liam here from Vantage Point, and I'm joined by Matt, and we're going to go through the last really key aspect of what we believe is an essential to achieving success IFRS 17. We hope you found the videos so far informative, and we hope you're starting to get a better picture of the aspects that need to be assembled when it comes to putting together a really great IFRS 17 team, and also choosing that software solution that's going to serve your organization in the best way possible. So, then the last point, I want to talk to you a little bit on running the project and really making the project real for you. And I think, Matt, there's two key aspects here for us. I think one that we see as being really important is first of all, the project methodology and actually how we're running these projects, what kind of methodology we're using.
And I think the second part is the solution that you implement, the learning curve that people need to go on to learn that solution. So, maybe if we take the project methodology point first, how are we going about our projects, and how would we recommend, having learned over the last while, how would we recommend doing them maybe a little bit better?
Sure. I think we have learned a lot through the IFRS 17 projects we've delivered so far. I'll maybe just call out a few key points that I think everyone should feed into their project in some way. There's not necessarily a one size fits all answer. We don't adopt a one size fits all. But there are definitely some core themes and things to do to make your project more likely of being successful. So, first of all, think about the overall methodology. If you look at the combination of agile and waterfall, often we are using a combination of the two. These are big strategic investments that are often funded direct from a CFO budget. And as a result of that, having an overall waterfall on the project, so you've got a really good, clear visibility of project phases, de-risks the overall project. And often when you're talking to those C level stakeholders, they want to see that governance that a waterfall project really promotes.
That said, there are lots of areas that project struggled to tackle right from the start. So, designing every report that you're going to need out of the solution in your up front analysis and design stage is potentially a little bit unrealistic. To that effect, having a more agile approach for some aspects of the project can be an effective way of delivering because it means you can defer analysis of some areas until later down in the project when you know more and you're more informed, and you can make better decisions. So, my advice would be just think about the combination of the two, think about what fits best and where, and think about potentially leveraging a hybrid of the two. You don't necessarily need to go down one path or the other exclusively, a combination could work really well.
Next, I'd always looked to do some form of pilot, and by a pilot, what we mean is day one of the project you should be looking to compose some sample data that starts to test the solution. And it's not just about testing the solution, it's about validating your understanding of the way that solution works and testing the solution, becoming familiar with that solution, as well. Within the first six months of the project, you want to have a really good handle on how the solution works and that it meets all of your core functional requirements with relation to the Standard. And then you can start to think about data, inputs, outputs, and extra things that you want to leverage. But do make sure you're running pilots.
And finally think about the team. So, not only the team that you might have from an external partner supporting you, but also the team that you're composing internally. The solution that you choose is essential, but even if you have the best IFRS 17 solution in the world, if you don't have the right people involved from your internal team, the people that understand your accounting policy, understand your systems, your data, all the kind of core things you'd look for, core competencies we're familiar with, but make sure you've got people dedicated. Make sure they're not kind of being split between BAU and project work, because it never works on big projects like this. And then make sure you have trust in the implementation partner that you are working with because those people will be incredibly key to the delivery of your projects.
So, that's everything from a methodology perspective, just a few key points. And then start to think about how the solution supports the overall implementation. Our main advice and guidance would be choose a solution that you are confident that the business users, whether that's actuary or finance, but make sure you're adopting a solution that the business users can own, the business users can understand, and therefore your team can engage in implementation. The best way of learning, the best way of really getting a good handle on exactly how the solution works, is not through the manuals and the training produced at the end of the project. It's through being involved all the way through. And to be involved all the way through, the solution needs to be simple, it needs to be configurable, and it needs to be something that can be understood by finance or an actuary user. So, making sure you've got a solution that's easy to learn, you can get engaged all the way through, starting with a pilot and then supporting the build and configuration, will set your project up for success.
Great. Okay. So, I guess to close this off, really, when it comes to running the project, there are two key things. I guess not to be too married to any one methodology, be it waterfall or agile, and really make the kind of combination of both that that works best for you. That's what we've seen to work best based on the organization, based on the stakeholders, etc. So, not being too rigid there. And then the other point, Matt, if I'm picking this up correctly, is really looking at how easy that software is to learn, how easy it is to pick up, and ensuring that we don't have struggles past BAU and go live, where people who are just finding something that's just too difficult to learn. Also again, we have that recurring theme of configurability is, that recurring theme of having the right expertise in house and developing those in house experts in whatever software you implement. So, I guess is that it, Matt, from our perspective here, in terms of those two points? Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Yeah, no, I think I'd reiterate that, and the other point that I would stress is whatever solution you're choosing, run a pilot. So, test that solution as early as possible. And it is the best way to start on that journey of learning the solution. So, yeah, just some core points that are hopefully universally applicable, whatever solution you choose and whatever kind of structure business you're operating in.
Perfect. So, we have your project methodology, be it agile, waterfall, find out what works for you, and also have consultants that can work out the best way to do that for you. Then you have a solution that's easy to learn and easy to pick up, and ensuring that once we go live that everyone is up and enabled on that solution. And then the final point is run a pilot, ensuring that you're testing and iterating early stops you kind of running into any walls here. So, that is the last form of video in this series of videos. We hope you find them informative, and really just trying to give you an idea here of our recommendations, both from a consulting and a solution perspective, when it comes to preparing for IFRS 17. If there's anything here that you'd like to discuss in more depth, please reach out to me on this email and ask to schedule a call, and we'd be more than happy to run through any of the five points you covered.
Just to recap the points covered were your data challenges, your calculations and the complexity of those and getting around those. We then went through the explainability of your numbers and really trusting your numbers. Then we went through automation of disclosure and how we go about doing that. And finally, we went through running the actual project and making that real. If any of those points are of interest, do not hesitate to reach out and we'd be more than happy to run through anything here or any other aspect you'd have via IFRS 17 challenges that you'd like to discuss with us. Thank you very much. We hope to hear from you soon. Bye, bye.
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