A leading asset manager with $1 trillion in assets under management across a mix of retail and institutional funds hired Beacon Consulting Group (now part of Accenture) to help guide a buy-build-outsource decision related to the firm’s middle and back offices, including accounting and administration services. At the same time, the firm wanted to design an overall system strategy that would provide optimal support to its clients.

The asset manager was operating in a highly manual environment, with a large volume of processes being conducted offline. Its legacy technology platforms were performing well below industry standards and unable to keep pace with product, asset class, and geographical growth.

Strategy and solution

We assessed the firm’s current-state accounting operations for funds and portfolios, and reviewed its technology infrastructure to identify gaps and risk points.

A SMART time management and productivity study conducted across seven global locations revealed a number of opportunities for improvement in the short and long term.

After defining a strategic roadmap to address shortfalls in the current technology, we:

  • Developed decision criteria to facilitate a buy-versus-outsource decision.
  • Generated technology and outsourcing RFP questionnaires.
  • Led technology vendor and outsourcing provider demonstration sessions.


Over the course of the engagement, more than 200 system and architectural gaps were identified. Our recommendations covered tactical and strategic improvements, and cost-saving opportunities identified through the SMART time management study.

After a cost-benefit analysis revealed that the buy option provided a better return on investment and cultural fit as well as a less disruptive transition, we helped the firm:

  • Move into the proof-of-concept (POC) stage with finalists.
  • Validate the duration and cost of implementation.
  • Select a platform that best meets their needs.
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