Head of Company Secretariat (FTSE100)
National Grid plc is a multinational energy company that is dual-listed on the LSE (FTSE100) and NYSE, with 23,000+ employees across the UK and USA.
Prior to 2020, National Grid verified their Annual Report manually. This process was incredibly time consuming, involving numerous Excel spreadsheets. There were challenges around version control, limited time to complete verification and the overall issues with having lots of text in an excel document.
In 2019 the Company Secretariat team began exploring if technology existed that could “completely revolutionise National Grid’s approach to verification”.
Their research led them to the Australian legal market, where they found that Atticus was being used by ~80% of Top-tier & national law firms, for Capital Markets, Funds, and M&A verification work.
Atticus was “very easy” to adopt, says Megan. “It is very intuitive and after an internal demo to stakeholders we got started very quickly.” After subscribing to Atticus, National Grid’s teams were verifying almost straight away.
strict version control
The Company Secretariat team highlighted the power of Atticus’ ‘New Version’ feature. Megan says that “the feature was fantastic and meant that verification would never be lost and that everything could be done in real time”.
The feature ensures completed verification work is easily maintained between new versions of the disclosure. It displays changes between the versions and highlights any differences that may require re-verification.
This meant that you did not need to trawl back through the report and re-verify statements as any verification on older drafts was moved into the new version.
Atticus also removed the risk of work being lost, as users could all work on the document together, in real-time; across borders and time zones.
The Company Secretariat team appreciated Atticus’ live Dashboards. This feature allowed them to monitor the progress of verification in real-time and identify bottlenecks or any issues in advance, which helped ensure verification was completed on time and to the required standard.
Atticus has made the National Grid verification process “a much smoother, more efficient experience for all stakeholders” says Megan.
An unexpected benefit of Atticus became apparent during COVID-19, when stakeholders were forced to work from home.
a better way
Within the Company Secretariat team, Atticus is seen as a case study for how the team is living-up to two of National Grid’s three values -: ‘find a better way’ and ‘make it happen’.