• Blog
  • 5 Min Read
  • May 3, 2016

Mergers & Acquisitions: Your Questions Answered

Written by:
Brian Stephens

In today’s competitive insurance environment, growth through merger and acquisition is an increasingly popular strategy. But merging or acquiring another firm is a complex and challenging process, especially for accounting teams. Bringing on a merged or acquired company often means that on top of their already full workload, an accounting team must merge two separate and inconsistent accounting books, often using unfamiliar tools and systems. This all comes with the added pressure of meeting that first month-end filing deadline.

Clearwater has worked with insurers across the industry as they consider undertaking a merger or acquisition. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked mergers and acquisitions (M&A) related questions we have received about how to streamline an efficient and repeatable M&A process so accounting teams can have timely, accurate, and complete data ready on business day one.

Is there a best practice for aggregating data for acquired and existing assets?

After an acquisition, accounting teams are often forced to use the acquired company’s unfamiliar accounting system to access and extract portfolio data while waiting for the new assets to transfer to their custodian. This puts pressure on accounting teams to close before the next month-end, which is a difficult, stressful, and time-consuming task.

During an M&A, the best way to minimize the challenges of this process is to rely on a solution that can provide fully automated data reconciliation, validation, and aggregation. Clearwater aggregates assets without requiring a change of custodian by establishing an automated feed that seamlessly and accurately aggregates the newly acquired assets with the acquiring company’s existing assets. In our experience, an automated and reliable investment accounting system that can establish these data feeds is the best way to help accounting teams simplify the overwhelming task of aggregating data for acquired and existing assets.

How can we best reconcile data inconsistencies?

Accounting teams must ensure the acquired data is accurate and formatted consistently with existing data. To reconcile this data, accountants often need to perform manual checks and recalculations using consistent accounting assumptions and methodologies. This process is highly inefficient and introduces the risk of human error.

Minimizing the risk of human error and reconciling data with an automated web-based solution can help improve consistency and accuracy to almost 100%. Clearwater performs thorough, automated reconciliations and applies consistent and customizable accounting assumptions and methodologies. An automated reconciliation process requires no manual manipulation, which means the process adds no burden on accounting staff and the data is consistently error-free.

Is it difficult to establish comprehensive security master data?

The short answer? Yes. But let’s talk about the details.

Security types, general ledger codes, and regulatory classifications are just a few data points necessary for comprehensive portfolio reporting. Differing methodologies between the acquiring company and the acquired company can lead to data inconsistencies and cumbersome internal processes, all of which must be resolved before month-end. Accounting teams often end up reconciling and updating security master data manually, a process that can easily obscure issues and even introduce new errors. Manual processes also absorb a lot of time right when accounting teams have no time to spare.

Many accounting teams find themselves deciding between timely or consistent data—a choice that has no good solution. With Clearwater, accounting teams receive quick and consistent security master data on all assets with no additional reconciliation or manual work.

What standardized formats and reports do newly merged insurers need?

Accounting teams need a holistic view of all their assets, especially during the confusing and complex acquisition process. This holistic view requires acquired assets be formatted consistently with the existing portfolio. Once the new portfolio is reconciled and all data points are consistent, accounting teams must organize the data into an aggregated, standardized format for consistent reporting—yet another manual task.

Performance, risk, compliance, regulatory, management, and board reports are also necessary for a holistic view of assets. Accounting teams and other departments must merge the new assets into reports and quickly customize them to represent the assets in various ways for different stakeholders. When incorporating acquired assets into these reports, accounting and other internal departments often rely on manual tasks.

Clearwater automatically produces aggregated reports in a consistent and customizable format that enables accounting teams to quickly and easily create customized reports that combine or separate acquired and existing assets. Accounting, compliance, performance, risk, management, board, and regulatory reports are ready as early as business day one.

Mergers and acquisitions don’t have to be stressful. Clearwater takes on the accounting burden and saves you time, improves data accuracy, and helps everyone breathe a little more easily.

Read our brochure Mergers & Acquisitions: The Clearwater Way to learn more about how Clearwater’s streamlined process can help you.

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