Stretching The Roles

VP of finance Tara Carruthers goes beyond number crunching at Dalton Timmis to elevate the insurance group above its competitors

Tara Carruthers takes a broad approach to her role with Dalton Timmis Insurance Group. By completing both the RIBO (Registered Insurance Broker of Ontario) and CAIB (Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker) programs, Carruthers has gone beyond her role as vice president of finance.

RIBO regulates the licensing, professional competence, ethical conduct, and insurance-related financial obligations of independent insurance brokers in Ontario. While normally reserved for insurance brokers, Carruthers felt she should be as knowledgeable about the jobs of those working for her as she is of her own job. CAIB is a national professional designation program created by the Insurance Broker’s Assoication of Canada. Carruthers doesn’t deal directly with clients, but nonetheless, she feels it’s important to be aware of the responsibilities of her insurance brokers. Completing this program is part of Carruthers’s dedication to understanding her role as part of a large organization with many pieces, rather than focusing solely on her job.

“Taking programs like CAIB provides knowledge and understanding of all aspects of property and casualty insurance,” Carruthers says. “I chose to complete both those programs in order to learn more about the industry that I live and work in every day.”

Outside of her budget prep and financial analysis duties, Carruthers has been responsible for implementing processes and systems that streamline functions not just in accounting

Carruthers introduced the necessary internal regulations to improve the accuracy and timeliness of the company’s financial information.

Carruthers had a hand in implementing a company-wide document management system.

Carruthers played a role in enabling Dalton Timmis’s previous software program, Applied TAM, back in 2000.

Carruthers implemented policies and procedures for compliance and reporting requirements of its executives.

This helps Carruthers perform her role because her it’s not an isolated position—it impacts the entire company. “The back office, or the financial aspect of a company, functions directly and indirectly with the front office,” Carruthers says. “Business decisions that are made by the front office impact how information flows, how reports are built, how financial information is compiled, how budgets are prepared, and how information technology is managed.”

Carruthers understands how important it is to “see the big picture and connect all the dots. To manage operations as a whole and be profitable, you need to be able to understand what the organization is doing in all departments,” Carruthers says.

One of the initiatives Carruthers is launching to benefit all aspects of the company is the implementation of broker management software Epic. “It’s a program that we use to house all of our information on all of our clients, as well as the back-end office, financial, and document management,” Carruthers says.

According to Carruthers, Dalton Timmis was long overdue for a software update. “We’ve been using our existing software for fifteen years and this new program has a lot more functionality,” she says. “We can manage our clients better and our business process is streamlined.”

Dalton Timmis’s clients might not be directly aware of the software update, but Carruthers is confident it will make a difference to the client experience. “The reports module is enhanced and it is going to help us manage our business and also provide business continuity,” she says. “It’s going to provide efficiencies to staff, and in turn we can provide even better service to our clients.”

This is all part of Carruthers’s larger plan to keep Dalton Timmis a relevant competitor in the marketplace. “We strive to grow and keep one step ahead of the competition using marketing strategies and up-to-date technology,” Carruthers says. “Keeping up to date enables staff to continually improve in their role.”

This focus on its staff is a priority at Dalton Timmis. “We have an open-door policy,” Carruthers says. “The staff are encouraged to bring forward new ideas. The staff take pride in what they do and enjoy the people they work with. We work as a team and in a great environment. Employees have the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop in their role and into new roles. We give back to the community and band together as a team to do so.”

Learning and growing is hard work, but Carruthers assures they have fun, too. “We work hard, but we make time for fun and it’s important to take time for fun, smiles and laughter at the office.”