When Global Aerospace Underwriting Managers undertook a complete systems review, the finance team were quick to state their requirements; a fully integrated finance and accounting solution that would unify processes across the group and improve pool member reporting – the solution? Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Created in 2001 through the merger of the British Aviation Insurance Group (BAIG) and the Associated Aviation Underwriters (AAU) in the USA, Global Aerospace Underwriting Managers is the world's largest aviation insurance group – working with brokers and clients of all descriptions from global airlines to aircraft builders to understand and meet their needs for protection against risk.
The challenges they faced
Sourcing one solution that will cater for and integrate all company processes and reporting is a challenge for most organisations. Global Aerospace underwrites on behalf of a number of pool members, this adds complexity to the production of financial reports and their integration with underlying business processing systems.
Jenny Shears, Systems Accountant at Global Aerospace explained “The Incas system was not doing everything that finance needed it to do – the team needed a solution that would meet core basic financial requirements, for example to produce trial balances, P&L and other statutory reports for pool members, as well as providing good cash recording and reconciliation facilities.”
Having made the decision to purchase a financial accounting solution rather than build one from scratch as part of the bigger project, Global Aerospace adopted a traditional approach to the search and selection of a new solution, documenting their key business requirements and issuing a Request for Information to the key vendors within the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) marketplace. The new solution had to meet the following criteria:
- Multi Currency Functionality owing to the group’s U.S. and Canadian offices.
- Strong Integration Capabilities so that the solution could integrate with other systems e.g. the Av/38 solution.
- Flexible Reporting to produce well crafted financial reports for pool member returns and to report by pool year, whereby the organisation needs to produce separate revenue and balance sheet reports for each underwriting year separately.
- Flexible Functionality: strong cash handling, bank reconciliation and expense handling and a flexible chart of accounts so that the group is able to report at different levels using a segmented account structure.
- Consistent Processes: Underwriting on behalf of a number of pool members, the figures produced must be incorporated into the pool member’s financial accounts. A global company, consistent processes and systems are essential for effective reporting by the U.S. and Canada into the U.K.
- Better Business Insight so that the organisation can be monitored at a group level using real time, reliable data.
In addition to meeting the key criteria outlined above, Shears cited the fact that Dynamics GP is a Microsoft solution as a determining factor in its selection: “Global Aerospace is a Microsoft house, we operate in a Microsoft SQL Server environment the fact that Dynamics GP is a relational database provided good compatibility and integration capabilities with all existing processing systems.
The Microsoft brand also reassured us that the solution would continue to be developed into the future which allowed us to deploy the solution globally and the Microsoft Office look and feel was familiar in increasing end user acceptance.”
Following a two month implementation at Global Aerospace’s UK office and the subsequent roll out of Microsoft Dynamics GP across its U.S. and Canadian offices, the organisation now has a group wide business management solution; simplifying day to day processes and financial reporting.
Eight years on and Global Aerospace remains confident in the selection of Microsoft Dynamics GP.
The organisation has recently upgraded to version 8 of Microsoft Dynamics GP, a smooth upgrade process given the U.S. and Canadian offices upgraded at the same time – a total of fifty database upgrades carried out simultaneously across the globe.
When asked about the organisation’s relationship with Advantage, Shears commented “Advantage provides a good level of service. We are aware that other partners exist and we do review our contract with Advantage annually. The fact that we are still with the original partner eight years later is credit to their service levels. I would have no hesitation in recommending them as a Microsoft Dynamics Gold partner to the insurance industry.”