Case Studies

NZ Funds

Business was being operated from an unstable series of ten year old spreadsheets
There was no capacity for an internal IT resource
Constant manual input was required to report to their executive team

About NZ Funds

NZ Funds is a privately owned wealth management firm founded in 1988. It specialises in providing integrated advice and portfolio management services for New Zealanders.

NZ Funds has a nationwide team of over 75 investment advice, technology, and client service professionals, spread across seven offices throughout New Zealand.

Previous People Pressures

Before working with GK Horizons to implement Adaptive Insights in 2015, NZ Funds were relying heavily on a complex spreadsheet to track and report on their huge array of investments.

Speaking from his office in Auckland, NZ Funds’ Head of Finance and Principal, Tony Rae, knew that it was time to move on from the old spreadsheet system. “It was a business-critical application that was in Excel; which we obviously wanted to eliminate where possible.”

As with many companies who use traditional spreadsheets to handle their planning and reporting processes, NZ Funds’ primary spreadsheet had been added to – and amended by – various users over an extended period. However, in the case of NZ Funds, these alterations had occurred over a lifecycle of nearly a decade. According to Rae,

Our original Excel model went all the way back to 2006, and we had many different versions – probably hundreds.

 Tony Rae, Head of Finance and Principal, NZ Funds

With traditional spreadsheet systems like Excel, users tend to make their own adjustments to formulas and formats along the way, which can lead to an increasingly unstable document; or as Rae put it “…a very nasty Excel model that was barely holding together.”

The more unstable a spreadsheet becomes, the more hours it requires to keep it running, and the more vital it becomes to find a smarter solution.

The Search for a Better Process

NZ Funds knew that there had to be a better way to track and report, so Rae and his finance manager began investigating possible alternatives.

After an exhaustive search, NZ Funds knew that Adaptive Insights was the best, possible solution. According to Tony Rae, “We looked around, but none of the other software was really even close to what we were looking for.”

When it came time to choose an implementation partner, Rae says that there was only one real choice. “I went to one of Adaptive’s workshop days, and when we were keen to go ahead, I asked who was a good implementation partner – they recommended GK Horizons.”

However, NZ Funds weren’t after your typical implementation. Even though their previous system wasn’t the most user-friendly, it did allow NZ Funds a level of autonomy, and they were worried about losing that with the switch to a third-party platform. So the team at GK Horizons built a training framework, which helped NZ Funds to build, manage and maintain their platform independently. Rae said that this was hugely beneficial,

GK Horizons gave us the foundations. They set us up, made sure that we had the correct framework, and they gave us the training to build most of it ourselves.

 Tony Rae, Head of Finance and Principal, NZ Funds

Performance and Success

Even with the bespoke training aspect, the entire process only took GK Horizons seven months from the initial introduction, right through to go-live, and NZ Funds’ employees are already seeing tremendous results – and not just their finance team.

“Switching to a cloud-based system has been good,” said Rae. “We don’t have to worry about our IT team, and the updates are done behind the scenes. So there’s no worry about install and testing – and all of that carry on. It’s nice just to come in and see that Adaptive has upgraded.”

NZ Funds have already simplified their entire reporting processes through Adaptive. For Tony Rae, the automation built into Adaptive has been a huge success, “There’s no more constant updating for our rolling board reports – it’s much easier.”