Expert Matters: Why We Hire Fund Accountants
Welcome back! If you’ve been following us closely, you might have seen a bit of buzz around Eze Portfolio Accounting Software lately. As this is a key area for many of you, we’ve been working hard to bring to life new features to make your lives easier, with tools like the Reconciliation Summary dashboard coming online and deeper integration between Portfolio Accounting, Investor Accounting and Eze Order Management System.
But as you well know, our business is only part product. A big part of what we do hinges on making your lives easier by providing top-notch service. And who can really do that without expertise?
Fund accounting is one area that’s gotten increasingly complex over the last few years. With more demands for accuracy, transparency and flexibility coming from regulators and investors alike, running shadow accounting operations has become a rule rather than the exception. And the pressure for transparency shows no sign of abating: for instance, under the recently enacted California fee disclosure law, alternative investment funds must provide detailed breakdowns of fees they collect from their public fund investors. Requirements can be pretty granular, requiring breakdowns to portfolio company level, and other states have similar proposals on the plate.
Of course, to many of you, these requirements are nothing new; investors have been asking for fee reporting for years. What’s different now is the growing pressure to deliver more and more granular accounting data to different constituents, all while managing the costs of the process in an already tight environment. For instance, Ernst & Young’s 2016 Global Hedge Fund & Investor Survey found that 44% expect to have to cut costs in the middle- and back-office to compensate for continued pressure on fees. Given the already small operations staffs even at multi-billion dollar firms, this is tough to manage.
This is why we’re investing in client experience by hiring experts. We have more than a dozen fund accountants and staffers with extensive fund accounting and operations expertise working across the Development, Client Services and Sales organizations. In Client Services in particular, we’ve brought on both fund accountants and CPAs to work on client implementations. Here’s why.
1. Speaking Your Language
Some of the primary users of Portfolio Accounting, such as Controllers and CFOs, want to be able to discuss the system’s functionality through an accountant’s lens. Having CPAs on staff has enabled us to keep up with the conversation, translate accounting questions into examples, and put ourselves into your shoes.
2. Feeling Your Pain
We have a number of folks of staff who’ve worked on the buyside, doing fund accounting. They understand all too well the pressure to handle accounting, cash flow reconciliations, maintain operational liquidity flow, collateral margins, expenses/accruals, auditing, while keeping up with accounting standards and principles for various types of managed funds. Knowing the daily challenges first-hand helps us be better able to help you navigate them. Others who have worked on the institutional side are also able to contribute their knowledge of the prime brokerage processes, and can help better inform operation setup. This means more relevant training by our client service team, as well as smoother implementations and upgrades.
3. Better Practices
One advantage of having staffers that have worked in a variety of fund accounting capacities is the broad industry knowledge this brings. Having a partner who can advise on best practices from a practical perspective can be invaluable, and that’s what we strive to do at Eze. Our Client Services staffers have worked on the institutional side, competitors and at the funds, so they really have a multi-faceted perspective that enables them to understand what works best for different firms and situations. We also like the fact that they’re able to translate our clients’ challenges into practical insights for our development team – so you get better-informed product development as well.
All in all, hiring fund accountants has helped us raise the profile of our Client Services organization in this area. In fact, Eze Portfolio Accounting continues to receive accolades across the industry – since the beginning of the year, Eze Portfolio Accounting has been named Best Fund Accounting & Reporting Software in U.S. and Europe. I have no doubt that informed client service will continue to be a big driver of our success in this space and across Investment Suite.
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Jeff serves as senior vice president and general manager of SS&C Eze and has been with the company since 1999. During his tenure he has held a number of leadership and executive positions, including chief operating officer from 2005 to 2012, and prior to that he was chief technology officer. Jeff also served as executive managing director on the executive committee for former parent company ConvergEx Group from 2006 until the formation of Eze Software in 2013.