Understanding the value of consultancy support

Engaging with an external consultancy and using a consultancy based approach provides businesses with access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise. A strong consultancy provision will help provide expert support to a business, which in turn will help to drive growth, support better focus and motivation from employees, and allow for better controls to be implemented to assist in improving efficiencies within the business.

Delivered correctly, taking the decision to outsource to external compliance support can bring real value to a broker and I personally enjoy the challenge of applying the knowledge and experience I have gained to help support and assist brokers.

It’s important to understand that each broker is different, and you must adapt the way in which solutions for common problems within the sector are delivered.

I suppose in a way, using an external compliance consultant is a bit like eating Marmite – some people love it and some people hate it. What amazes me is that often, the people who hate it have never tried it! Their opinions are based on perceptions or the subjective opinions of others.

And that’s the thing with outsourcing to an external compliance consultancy. There are a lot of brokers out there who just don’t know what can be achieved as they’ve never tried it.

I am in the unique position of having been on both sides of the table. I’ve worked for businesses that have used external compliance consultants and for businesses that haven’t and now I am working for RWA in the capacity of a compliance consultant. My own experience of the topic has demonstrated to me the true value that an external consultancy such as RWA can bring, and this is something that I am very mindful of when working as a consultant for the brokers I visit.

So many companies turn to external compliance consultancy support at a time of crisis, as it is only at that point, having had intervention from the Regulator, that these businesses open themselves up to the concept of using external support to gain a second opinion. Up to this point, they have all too often been happy to go along for years in a bit of a bubble, in the belief that all is well, and they are doing the right thing.

Do you use other consultants in your business?

I asked our CEO, Tom Wood, how RWA uses external consultants and he reports: “We use consultants for areas where we want to tap into expertise that we do not have internally; examples include office security, IT networking, web design, legal advice, accountancy, building regulations, etc. I think the problem is that when you start a business you find that you have to do an element of ‘bootstrapping’ as you don’t have the capital resources to bring in external support and this is the right way to do it, but as you become more established and grow, you will find that it’s actually a better investment to start relying on consultancy support in those areas where you are not so skilled. It’s quicker, it highlights and minimises your risks and it allows you to make more informed decisions about where to take your business. Compliance and business consultancy is no different.”

Where can RWA provide this support?

The one thing that external consultancy support will absolutely provide is an independent professional opinion. Working with RWA to review your business and report its findings can only make sense, right?

If all is well, then great, money well invested. If things are not so well and you have somehow gone off track along the way, at least you now know. You have taken positive steps to review your business and with the help of RWA, you can implement an action plan to address the issues identified.

At least this way, you can demonstrate that you are proactively looking at how you can improve your business and by engaging with RWA you can rest assured in the knowledge that we are working together to get things back on track.

Consultants can support at all levels of business. It’s not just for large companies or about giving advice in the boardroom; I often work closely with staff within both large and small businesses to help develop individual skills and confidence to help them unlock their true potential.

RWA can offer a full business health check facility which will provide valuable insight into its current activities and the potential associated risks. Far from being a tick box exercise, the RWA health check is designed to be intrusive in nature and has a focus on how the business is run. This provides all businesses with an independent means on which to benchmark themselves.

About the author

Steve has over 15 years of experience in retail general insurance, including influential roles at Hallmarque Assistance Ltd, Endsleigh and more recently as Compliance Director for Premium Choice Ltd, a large independent insurance broker.

Steve is responsible for the day to day needs of some of RWA’s larger clients nationwide, often working with RWA’s senior team on larger more complex projects such as those involving remedial works, auditing of standards, developing compliance frameworks and providing project assurance, particularly when subject to FCA scrutiny.

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