Meet…Barbie Connell Spencer

Eagle’s newest Insurance Accounting Lead, Barbie Connell Spencer, brings a wealth of experience navigating legacy system conversions. She also loves a challenge—a characteristic cultivated during her service in the US Navy, professional career choices and her sense of adventure in pursuing outdoor activities. 

Tell us a little about your background and your journey that lead you to Eagle?
I definitely have a unique background! After my time in the US Navy, I spent time working in IT at Intel as well as several public accounting firms. At the same time, I continued to achieve my secondary education in accounting. These experiences in the early phase of my career were critical in preparing me to consult on the installation of accounting solutions. I eventually accepted a position at MassMutual, where I would then spend the next 18 years of my career. Although I initially started out as a programmer, I gained experience learning all aspects of the insurance accounting industry, and was hooked.

Investment accounting in the insurance vertical is quite different from traditional accounting. Industry-specific rules and regulations create quite a bit of nuance, so substantial experience and a deep understanding of how business users may seek to leverage software is critical to becoming a true subject matter expert.

My ability to gain experience across a range of functions while working for my last employer, MassMutual, proved to be tremendously advantageous in building my skillset. I eventually moved away from IT and transitioned into a role overseeing investment data for the company’s investment accounting system and its corporate ledger. When MassMutual made the decision to move to Eagle, I had the opportunity to learn the Eagle system and become an expert. I served as the data-conversion lead during the implementation, so I’m well-versed in the challenges insurance companies face when transitioning from a legacy system. I also gained an appreciation for the strategy required to navigate an implementation, and have a true passion for this kind of work. After I earned my Master’s Degree, I was excited to return to my consulting roots and begin this new phase of my career at Eagle. 

What best practices have you learned from implementations that you will bring forward to insurance clients looking to implement Eagle?
The most important lesson is to spend as much time as possible preparing for a conversion before you actually begin. I know it might seem costly and time-consuming, but devoting enough time and resources to scrubbing the data, ensuring it’s clean, accurate, and validated is critical to a successful implementation. If what goes into the system isn’t accurate, what comes out is often worse.

Data is a company’s number one asset besides its people—but only if it’s complete and verified. This is particularly true when it comes to insurance accounting, which is incredibly rules-based; it makes data management that much more important.

What are you most excited for as you join Eagle?
I really do love a challenge. In my new role, I believe I have an opportunity to help Eagle provide the best insurance accounting system for the industry. As a consultant, I believe I can serve as a useful bridge that allows clients to continuously challenge the vendor and also collaborate to continually improve the product. That is what’s so exciting about Eagle’s co-creation model with clients; by maintaining a laser-like focus on obstacles clients are facing as well as their business needs, the best possible products will be the result. I know from experience that we can make a better product together than if we were doing it by ourselves.

My experience working with Eagle from the client-side was what made Eagle, and this new role, such a compelling next stage of my career.

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