Grant Thornton to open 11th CEO Room in Leeds

25 February 2015

Grant Thornton has opened a new ‘CEO Room’ in Leeds, its 11th in the United Kingdom.

A number of years ago accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton launched its first ‘CEO Room’, an initiative that aims at taking CEOs and executives out of their every-day demands of office and company operations in order to focus on developing the bigger picture. The room opens up the kind of environment required for CEOs to sit down and in a one-on-one context work through the key strategic, financial and leadership issues their business face.

According to the business advisory, the CEO Room helps executives “think clearly about ambitions and objectives”, and helps them “stress test existing strategies”. At the end of the line company leaders should find a range of benefits, including “ideas how to unlock value” and “insight that will help to achieve sustainable profit growth”.

The CEO Room - Grant Thornton

Besides using the CEO Room as a means to review and/or revise company strategy, the platform has been designed in such a manner that is also supports dealing with high-impact changes in the business environment. Examples include, among others, a change of leadership, a restructuring, a merger, acquisition or carve-out, new market entry and dealing with a reputation crisis.

On the back of the growing popularity of the CEO Room, which is “free of charge” says Grant Thornton, the firm has in recent months rolled out the concept to eleven cities, with Leeds the latest addition. The initiative is already available at Grant Thornton offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London (Finsbury Square), Manchester, Oxford, Reading and Southampton. A CEO Room in Birmingham is forecasted to be the next expansion move.


How First Consulting generates more insight using fewer reports

08 March 2019

Organisations are continuously investing in more advanced data collection and manipulation methods to enable smarter and more informed business decisions. In order to maximise their business value, companies understand the growing need for performance related insights from their data. First Consulting, a consultancy firm specialised in business change, has helped many clients in the utilities sector to deliver effective change through improved use of their data.

Most utilities firms are structured in such a way that every business unit has a team of analysts who are responsible for providing relevant data insights to their business colleagues. The business analysis teams form the link between business decision making and IT by translating business requests into meaningful actions and delivering information via reports.

Typically, the business user will receive a unique report for each information request, with each new report requiring individual, tailored support from the analyst team. This limits the productivity of the analyst teams and minimises their ability to address new data requests. The growing demand for information puts additional pressure on these teams, as a significant amount of time is required simply to gather and update the required data. This has caused reporting portfolios to expand dramatically. However, due to the analysts’ already stretched capacity, reports do not always deliver the most vital information and documentation is often incomplete.

Redesigning information delivery

At First Consulting, business consultants work in close collaboration with their clients to improve the mechanism for the delivery of information and analysis in response to business requests. The improved structure focuses on providing information per role type, rather than per request. As such, one dashboard is designed for each organisational role type, with all the relevant information presented in a single overview. This allows all individuals of a given role type to open a single dashboard and view what they need, as opposed to collating a large range of disparate links and unique reports which, previously, were all required to enable business decision making.

Moving from unique reports for each request, to reusing KPIs in a select group of dashboards

By implementing this new way of working, clients are able to reduce the reporting portfolio from over 100 reports to fewer than 20 dashboards (see figure above). In addition, the capacity for data maintenance can be reduced significantly by using modular KPIs, allowing for the re-use of data across multiple dashboards.

Changing while everyday work continues

In order to deliver effective change, it is essential that day-to-day processes remain unaffected whilst transitioning to a new reporting landscape. First Consulting achieves this by embedding business consultants within the client’s analysis team to gain feedback and determine exactly what visuals are necessary within the dashboards. This focuses effort on the outcome (such as what should be presented in the final dashboard) and allows a broad range of requirements to be considered in the business context and combined, where appropriate.

Key users and stakeholders are involved from the outset to help define what makes a high-quality dashboard. Adopting this approach helps the team to produce an optimal output that contains the key business information for the appropriate roles in an easy-to-use format.

Once it is clear what should be included in the final dashboard and how this should be presented, the team works according to the priorities set out by the product owner. This ensures that analysts work on the requirements which deliver the most value and which form the most coherent dashboards.

Main results

The advantages of implementing straightforward, no-nonsense solutions using fewer reports are particularly noticeable for the business and for the analyst teams:

  • Making adjustments is easier and maintaining and updating data costs less time
  • Management information is displayed in one location and is displayed according to defined standards, facilitating decision making
  • There is greater capacity within the business for complex analysis and project support

First Consulting combines process, technology, and implementation consulting to deliver impactful and value-adding solutions. The firm has more than 200 consultants based in the UK and the Netherlands.