For The Guarantee Company of North America USA (The Guarantee), a recognized leader in surety insurance, managing investment accounting operations from its Detroit, Michigan, headquarters with a parent company based in Canada presented a unique set of challenges.
The Guarantee's U.S. investment accounting team—which includes accounts payable and receivable, financial reporting, investment reporting, and reinsurance accounting for over $180 million in assets—is required to manage everything from their month-to-month close process to taxes and statutory reporting. They must also report their internal financial statements on a Canadian GAAP basis, because their parent company is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Another challenge was the company requirement that they close their books on the last Friday of the month, regardless of the calendar date. "One of the things we were up against was trying to get investment reporting completed in a timely fashion," said Sara Schrauben, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer. "If the calendar month happened to be on the Thursday following our close, it could be extremely difficult to get month end information for investments." As a result, The Guarantee could often take an additional five business days to get their investment information ready for consolidation, "We were constantly holding up our parent company," said Schrauben.