RSA Group removes 4 months from its FP&A process

Andrew Dinwiddie, Head of Performance Management, shares how, with a five-week implementation of Anaplan, his FP&A team can now spend time on value-added work instead of crunching and consolidating numbers.

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My name is Andrew Dinwiddie. I’m the head of performance management at RSA Group, which is a 300-year-old international insurance company headquartered in London.

We provide commercial and personal insurance to international customers. We’ve got three main regions: EMEA, Scandinavia, and Canada.

We started with Anaplan three years ago with financial planning and analysis. We had a history of large Excel spreadsheets, the process took far too long, and we were really looking for a solution which could be implemented quickly, but also add value. And that’s where we found the [Anaplan] platform, and it’s been transformational for our business.

We were able to implement the Anaplan platform within a space of five weeks, which, when we looked at other rival products, was night-and-day different.

We’re able to develop the system ourselves, and that’s really enabled user adoption in terms of what it looks like and feels like our system.

We’ve been able to cut down our process from being nine months long to being five months long, and we’re looking this year to move it to a three-month planning cycle, which will be revolutionary for our company.

Half our users are non-finance users now. We’ve given access to traders, underwriters, and managers who can contribute to the system through a front-end portal. And that’s been a watershed moment for us in the usage of the system.

They’ve been able to see the power of the platform. They’ve been able to self-serve, and they’ve also seen that it can be used as a problem-solver in their own areas. And that’s enabled us to move into things such as workforce planning, sales performance management, ABC costing, and zero-based budgeting. So I think the possibilities are endless with the platform now.

The flexibility of having separate modules that can be connected together is of huge value. And the fact that they can all talk together and use the same information means that individuals can work on their own processes in isolation, but can bring all that together and have one source of the truth.

The biggest benefits from the platform, I would say, are twofold. Firstly, it just enables our finance function to add value. We asked our CEO, “What do you want from our finance function?” And he said, “I want insights and I want value-adding analysis.”

And we’re able to do that on the platform.

The second is workforce planning. We had a team of 50 involved in workforce plans initially, and they were spending far too much time in spreadsheets, and ultimately, when they went to the business with the answer, it was out of date.

From using the new platform, not only are less people involved in the actual planning process in terms of pulling the numbers, but more people are involved in the value-add.

We’re able to link up different teams using the same data source, using the data hub [so we can] make the best decisions.

And that’s the real value of the platform. We’re able to move people away from adding up the spreadsheets to being out with the business users, delivering the best services for our customers.

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