Meeting the Challenges of IFRS 17 Rules

How ORYX provided a large insurance firm with a solution to input, compute and analyse data to support the IFRS 17 submission process.

IFRS 17 requires a measurement of insurance contracts using updated estimates and assumptions that provide transparent reporting on financial position and risk. Although it comes into force on 1st January 2023, for accounting purposes it requires application to comparatives. With huge volumes of data to process, how did the Insurance firm overcome this challenge, and what have been the results of their focus to meet the new IFRS 17 rules?

Client Fact File

  • Part of one of the largest insurance groups in the world
  • Operating in the Lloyd’s Syndicate, reporting under UK GAAP and IFRS
  • Global reach with over £1bn in premium

Key Project Metrics

  • Delivered in two phases to guarantee confidence
  • Duration: 8 months + 3 Months
  • Key business benefits achieved:
    • Support of IFRS 17 requirements
    • Saved many hours of effort from otherwise manual and labour-intensive processes
    • Increase of IFRS 17 submissions from annual to quarterly, through creation of streamlined processes
    • Designed to supplement de facto corporate technologies


The Financial Controller recognised the business faced an important challenge. He explains: “There were several problems we faced that caused us to look for a solution. We have lots of data in our systems but to do anything meaningful with it required us to export it. Traditionally, Excel is the tool for the finance office, but the sheer volume of data we had in our General Ledger system and the database containing our specialist insurance data would simply be too much for a spreadsheet to handle.

That left us with a choice; build a spreadsheet process and continually undertake the export into multiple spreadsheets – a very time-consuming and laborious process, or look for an alternative solution.”

The Project

The insurance firm engaged with Accountagility after looking into a few tools on the market. Feeling assured that ORYX would work, they wanted to be confident that ORYX would automate and streamline their working practices to support the IFRS 17 submission process, that it would work in conjunction with their existing technology solutions, and achieve a return on the investment. Accountagility was quick to respond by providing an initial Proof of Concept project. This enabled both parties to work together and explore the best possible ways to ensure ORYX was the correct solution.

A fuller roll-out followed and today, the solution exports data from both the firm’s General Ledger and database (that houses their specialist insurance data), removing any need for repeatable manual exports. The implemented ORYX solution was configured to include dimensional modelling and mappings in line with the data structure required by the business.

The ORYX solution provides a computational rules engine that executes a set of computations using rules configured to cater for their IFRS 17 accounting reporting requirements. It also provides functionality such as the ability to drill back to source in ledger data, review last results, and account details. The firm operates in multiple currencies (USD$, GBP£ and Canadian$) but reports in GBP£. ORYX takes an input FX rate and performs conversion to GBP£ at average and closing rates. The output journal contains the original currency.

But it’s the cube view feature that provides the greatest benefit. Cube views provide a very complex view of their data, and is where the views can be manipulated to view an output using various dimensional filters. It is here where data can be interrogated, scrutinised, and issues flagged, making the drill to source feature instrumental to resolving any issues.

ORYX outputs an XLS export that journalises the data in a ‘ready to post’ general ledger compatible template. Before journal is downloaded it can be reviewed in the cube view.

“Accountagility provided dedicated resource throughout the project” says their Financial Controller. He continues “This offered continuity and a depth of knowledge within the product and project that you don’t always get when working with larger corporates who allocate a pool of resource. Even after UAT, when everything was closed down, I was delighted to be able to go back to that same resource for additional help or advice”.

The ORYX Solution

  • ORYX for IFRS 17 is based on the features readily available
    within the ORYX Close software
  • Enable users to input, compute and analyse data for the
    IFRS 17 Submission requirements

Key Outcomes

By implementing ORYX, the Insurance firm created a streamlined process that met their needs to do things in a standardised way. Because ORYX is automated, it does not need to keep downloading data from the GL or database. It enables the firm to look at the business in many ways. If previously, they had wanted to look at the business say, by product line, or currency, they would have needed to go into another system and either download to a spreadsheet or try to analyse it there.

Not only are they able to produce journals significantly quicker, there are less likely to be spreadsheet-based errors, nor is there a single dependency on one person understanding the process.

Strategic Benefits

Their Financial Controller comments “Time saving has been our biggest advantage. If we hadn’t had ORYX, we’d have had to build an XLS based journal – that alone would have taken weeks, and then each time we ran it, it would have taken between 3 to 4 days. With ORYX we can run a journal in 15 minutes. Given we repeat this process frequently, reducing a 3-day process to 15 minutes is a huge time saving initiative”. Given that an insurance firm is likely to have 15 or 20 versions of data from actuaries, being able to run them multiple times is a huge benefit. Without ORYX, the risk is having a messy process that needed a lot more people.

He continues “At the start of the project, I anticipated needing an additional
headcount. That would have been a high-cost resource due to the calibre of person.
We’ve been able to absorb the work within the team because ORYX does the heavy lifting around the data crunching. Immediately we’ve saved one headcount”.

At the time of writing, the business is looking to build out the potential of using
ORYX for future analysis, and that could potentially double the saving of headcount to two. There is no doubt future savings could be made as requirements increase.

Glynis Franzman, CEO of Accountagility observes another area of benefit. “The
granularity and enrichment of the first trial posting of the IFRS technical journal was impressive. It contained 10,000’s of lines. This far exceeded the usual simple journals that would contain prepayments, expenses, accruals etc. This posting afforded a journal that contained so many elements, such as by year of account, source type, CCY and account – providing so much data for that detail to be imported into their reporting tool”.

Design International

Time to Analyse

How the ORYX Finance Automation solution helped Design International to process and report their timesheet data

Not too long ago, the processing of hundreds of weekly timesheets was a frustrating and time consuming exercise at Design International.

How did Accountagility help overcome this challenge, and what advantages were experienced as a result of using ORYX?

Client Fact File

  • Award winning International Architects firm
  • Founded in 1965 in Toronto, Canada
  • Present in 45 countries
  • Pioneers of design features that have become industry benchmarks
  • Over 10 million sqm of built architecture around the globe

Key Project Metrics

  • Duration: 2 ½ Months
  • Key business benefits achieved:
    • Reduction in time to process timesheet data
    • Integration into the GL to support project costing
    • More time for greater analysis of the numbers


When Paul Mackrow, Director of Finance and Administration joined Design International, he quickly saw that efficiencies could be gained if the capturing and processing of timesheets could be improved. He explains in his own words: “Design International have a number of studios geographically dispersed in London, Milan, Shanghai and Dubai. Each office has a varying number of architects associated to it, and each architect is required to submit a timesheet for every week. At the time I came on board, finance was spending vast amounts of time reviewing and manually compiling timesheet information, using Excel spreadsheets. It was clear there was a better way to process this data, and save our finance staff valuable time”. He continues, “I also wanted to be able to extract meaningful data, but at that time, it was such a long manual process, gaining informative reports was not an easy task”.

The Project

Paul engaged with Accountagility to review their requirements, and three main areas were raised:

  • The need to automate the capture of timesheets and be able to analyse the data
  • To capture project revenue and costs and provide profitability
  • Enable import and export integration into the incumbent general ledger HansaWorld

Using the ORYX Platform, a custom process automation solution was designed. Working closely with the Design International team, Accountagility undertook great care to ensure the solution limited instances of user error, this was achieved by creating pre-populated timesheet templates to include the Architect’s name, the studio they work at, and the project codes and project names they were working on.

Building on that first step, it was important to improve the way data was submitted and validated. Today, the finance office load timesheet files using the automated data import facility, using robust validation techniques. Any exceptions are flagged for a finance team member to resolve, giving the option to review data before it’s committed into the system.

Paul Mackrow comments “It was imperative that the submitted timesheet information would enable us to compute project costs. This required details such as the architect grade and the associated rate card ”. Once the data was loaded into ORYX, the rules based computation engine produced two outputs; one was a journal detailing the project cost information, exported into HansaWorld, this is useful for the company’s general management accounting information. The second was to provide Cube Views providing onscreen analysis to show profitability by project, or by studio.

The ORYX Solution

A business process automation solution, designed to meet the exacting needs for the finance office at Design International

Stacey Munday, Operations Director at Accountagility who worked closely with Design International confirms: “ORYX offers a number of analysis and reporting techniques, we wanted to make as many of these available to Design International. This included cube view analysis that allows users to manipulate the views output using various dimensional filters. Our cube view analysis contains drilldown and excel export capabilities.
Also, our specialist reporting module enabled journal exports to be designed to Design International’s exacting needs”.

Key Outcomes

Design International has streamlined the way important information is processed and presented back to the company, saving valuable man hours of finance staff time.

Covid-19 impacted most businesses in many ways, and Design International was not an exception. Like countless firms, staff numbers fluctuated and many employees were required to work from home. Despite this, the Timesheet and Analysis system from Accountagility continued to work throughout, and continues to support Design International today.

At its peak, the Timesheet and Analysis system was processing timesheets for hundreds of staff members on a weekly basis. The solution is flexible and handles unexpected increases and decreases in volumes of timesheets.

“Throughout the implementation, Accountagility were attentive and provided attention to detail. On the whole we have experienced a close working relationship. Our engagement commenced with Accountagility because I saw there was an initial need for the business. What Accountagility have delivered has benefited our business over the last 5 years” concludes Paul.

Bloor Research International Ltd

The ORYX suite from Accountagility, a solution just has that feel of absolute quality

Published January 2017

Some years ago I wrote several articles about how much I admired the Accountagility solution for creating BI solutions to meet the needs of the Finance departments, primarily in the Financial Services market. I was impressed by its functionality, its obvious fitness for purpose, its value for money, and its agility and speed of delivery. I have recently been reintroduced to it, and they have built on what was a proven foundation and in my opinion have produced a world class solution which stands out from the competition.

The first thing that I was originally struck by with the ORYX suite was the continuity from the single Accountagility product heritage, this is quite obviously a solution built not by marketers and technicians, but by people who understand the business they are supporting intimately, and who can match that with technical flair and know how. Too many products in The BI and CPM (Corporate Performance Management) space have far too much gold plating, things that technically you can do, and which get marketers excited, but address less than 1 percent of the use cases a real world solution has to address.

The ORYX suite is conspicuously lacking in such spurious technical capabilities, but is feature rich in the things that a Finance department actually needs to do their job properly. It offers a way out of the spreadsheet hell that bedevils far too many finance departments, even in seemingly well run enterprises The ORYX suite consists of 6 modules, all built on a common core, all capable of running as a standalone solution, all capable of uniting to present an integrated world class solution. The modules are ORYX Plan, ORYX Consolidation, ORYX Expenses, ORYX Close, ORYX HR and ORYX Cash. With those solutions the stated goal, and one that now (as in the past) can support proven real world installations, puts the Finance user back in control of their function. The solution is built for Finance people by Finance people, to ensure that there is no semantic or cultural barrier to adopting the solution. The solutions enable adopters to plot a middle path, avoiding two unpalatable but common dilemmas. One is the spreadsheet nightmare, which offers a myriad of point solutions but cannot provide a unified strategic approach. The other is an overly expensive, inflexible, difficult to adapt and use Enterprise solution from one of the big technology vendors. Being so focused on its purpose means that the ORYX suite has a clear underlying process model of how it can unite the various elements of the Finance function, which is an essential stepping stone to enabling streamlined business processes to be enacted free of the compromises that legacy solutions impose. The suite enables a step by step approach to delivering a complete solution, you can take what you want when you want, so it’s one move at a time not an all or nothing approach. Accountagility can support the project at all stages relieving a lot of the stress that any reengineering such as this inevitably introduces. Rather than a project such as this being an ordeal, it should be a gateway to a better future.

The solution can be run in-house or can be hosted in the Cloud, which is today an essential feature for any leading solution. Accountagility can back up the base product with the necessary professional services skills. They have proven that they can take on and outperform the solutions on offer from the big technology vendors, not just on price, but on functionality, speed to deliver, ongoing costs of ownership, and customer satisfaction.

I believe that the ORYX suite is capable of competing against any other products in the CPM market and is very totally credible. I believe it is a world class solution, and if I were looking for a solution to help me run my Finance function effectively in these fast changing and uncertain times, it would be at the top of my shortlist.

David Norris
Senior Analyst
Bloor Research International Ltd
20–22 Wenlock Road, LONDON N1 7GU, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7043 9750

Bibby Financial Services

No more drama

How ORYX Plan helped the Bibby Financial Services to implement collaborative planning

There was a time when planning in Bibby Financial Services was an opaque process that contributed to confusion and frustration.

How have they overcome this challenge, and what have been the results of their focus on improving their approach to planning?

Client Fact File

  • Part of Bibby Line Group, a dynamic business-to-business services group with a 200 year heritage
  • Provider of tailored funding solutions
  • Since 1985, they have become the largest independent factor and invoice discounting provider in the UK
  • Proud to assist over 9,000 businesses
  • Handles annual client turnover of £9 billion
  • Provides funding of over £689m
  • Global span across Europe, North America and Asia

Key Project Metrics

  • Duration: 5 months
  • Key business benefits achieved:
    • Clear alignment of business drivers and the plan
    • Common data and vocabulary across Finance and other business functions
    • Enablement of more complex budgets
    • Creation of streamlined process
    • Planning is now a truly team based activity


Global Finance Director Steve Rose faced a serious challenge. He takes up the story: “The planning process was a fragmented affair, especially at peak periods, with staff burning the midnight oil in order to hit deadlines. The underlying reasons were the increasing demands from the business and the concomitant enormous increase in data volumes. The business also wanted more frequent planning, more data to be included, more granular detail and a greater level of consolidation.”

Spreadsheets were being used, but couldn’t cope. Real team working was almost impossible. Inevitably, even the most diligent staff were struggling to deliver what the business needed.

The Project

Steve engaged Accountagility to analyse existing processes and business requirements to understand how they could be improved. A planning automation project was rapidly initiated and a full solution was implemented in time for the following planning cycle in August, using an approach that was more closely aligned with the business.

Accountagility worked closely with Steve’s team, replacing risk-laden and fragile spreadsheets with a single-image common system, ORYX Plan. This involved creating new business processes and rules to replace spreadsheet formulae and calculations.

The ORYX Solution

  • ORYX Plan
  • Single solution for budgeting planning and forecasting
  • Part of a full suite of solutions for the Finance function that reduce risk and deliver cost savings of up to 80%

Key Outcomes

The impacts of this successful project have been wider than originally anticipated. Steve continues: “We quickly saw that each business area could create and sign off their piece of the plan. Effectively finance was now able to transfer ownership to the management team of each key business function, and a new end-to-end process was possible.”

Further unexpected benefit was a new common language. “Now the executive management team has the same vocabulary, and we can all be on the same page talking about the right things”, explains Steve. “The model for this approach was developed by Accountagility and finance working as a team. The first business functions to get involved were sales, operations, marketing and product management, and the co-operation allowed business leaders to understand and influence the financial outcome of their plans.”

Strategic Benefits

The common and considered new planning process means planning is a collaborative management effort. Steve summarises, “My greatest pleasure in all this is to see the finance function becoming a constructive challenger to the business and being able to collaborate with it on both access to and sharing of planning information.”

Robert Gothan, CEO of Accountagility observes another area of benefit. “The ability to handle very large volumes of complex data through a single system allows Bibby to produce more accurate predictions with smaller variances, and to increase planning frequency if the business demands it in the future. Also, now that the business has a common business definition that is embedded into their planning and forecasting processes, they are able to easily achieve comparability across their business.”