IFRS 17: How can digital training help you?

07 June 2018

Insurers are well aware by this stage in their IFRS 17 journeys that the standard is likely to cause significant changes throughout their organisations. One area our clients are starting to focus on is training; namely, how much training, to whom and at what point in the journey do they start?

Traditionally, big impact standards like IFRS 17 would involve classroom training sessions led by experts to disseminate the knowledge. This approach to sharing new IFRS knowledge works, and can be an important part of an IFRS training program, however, it can leave a few questions:

  • How can you make sure that your base training material is standardised across the group, especially when the insurance operations are located across a large geographic area?
  • Who really needs to attend classroom training? Can you afford for your IFRS 17 experts to be spending valuable implementation time in the classroom? Do they have the time to do so?

Interestingly, the IFRS 17 training audience is likely to be much broader than you would initially think when contemplating a new accounting standard - at least some basic knowledge is likely to be needed across accounting, financial reporting, actuarial, risk, product, planning and control, IT, investor relations and many more groups in an insurer. A lighter touch than traditional classroom training may be required for a number of these groups.

At PwC we have developed a comprehensive e-learn across IFRS 17 and IFRS 9, which we are implementing across the world for all insurance staff. It’s proving to be popular, and we’ve had over 1,000 people complete it so far. As a first stage in getting up to speed, as we are finding, this type of e-learning is likely to be a good route forward - it’s portable, you can track who’s done it and it’s a quick way of injecting knowledge. Digital tools provide standardised, high quality training in an easy-to-use manner and also allows companies to focus their classroom efforts on a more select group of people to lift the knowledge levels on specific topics.

We have also provided snapshot training for C-suite and non-executive directors. This is generally a lighter touch, but more likely to be one-on-one, or one-with-the-board. There is increased demand for this at present, as NEDs start to see and hear more about IFRS 17, and executive boards are asked to sign off on significant projects. I imagine this demand will only grow as the 2021 deadline approaches, as people want to understand the impact of the new numbers on KPIs, executive remuneration, strategy, product and other areas.

A smaller number of clients have started classroom sessions as a complement to the e-learns. This has generally been for those areas of the business needing a deeper knowledge (e.g. actuaries, finance staff). It will be interesting to see whether these are expanded out of these departments going forward, or whether the e-learns are enough.

Alex Bertolotti

Alex Bertolotti | Partner
Profile | Email | +44 (0)7525 298694

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