Get ready to up your 'A' game...

Financial advice businesses of all shapes and sizes are feeling the pressure to deliver affordable financial advice profitably, tackle rising costs and inject value into the advice process. If you’re feeling the squeeze, you’ve probably thought about how to automate more of what you do.

Automation is one of those things most financial planning businesses know they should be doing but struggle with because it’s hard to know where to start. Focus on the wrong thing, and you could waste time and effort automating work that doesn’t bring you any real benefit.

To help you get it right, we’ve got some tips along with a list of workflows every financial planner should be automating in 2024.

Financial planning automation - where to start

If you want to up your ‘A’ game, a good starting point is asking, ‘should you be doing the work to begin with?’ If the answer’s ‘no’, just get rid of it. There is no sense in automating work you shouldn’t be doing in the first place. Similarly, automating a one-off process probably isn’t very valuable either.

Remember, automation is getting technology to do the work you do time and time again - the repetitive, mundane tasks so that you can put your precious time to better use. There are lots of things that your financial advice practice will do over and over again that are worth automating, and it's all easily achieved with the right technology.

Let’s look at some of the main elements of financial planning where you’ll see the most benefit from automation.

Client onboarding

The client fact-find and onboarding process can be long-winded and repetitive. Asking for the same data multiple times is tiring for everyone, and there’s a danger you lose your client’s interest there and then. Client onboarding is an area that's ripe for automation.

The latest financial advice software with automation capabilities removes many repetitive tasks associated with onboarding and the advice process. For instance, it can handle account opening, produce pre-populated documentation like a letter of authority and send it automatically to the client for a digital signature, and trigger alerts to others in the business when it’s time to complete the next task.

Automating client onboarding means advisers can focus entirely on building the client relationship - not the paperwork. The time savings create a greater capacity for bringing more clients on board without compromising service quality. What’s more, a good onboarding process offers fantastic opportunities to scale efficiently and profitably. One business doing it well is Birling Wealth Management, which saves 10-15 hours every month using Xplan to automate its onboarding processes - not bad!

Client reviews

Once a client has been brought on, service can become much less high contact, and there’s scope for further automation of advice processes. Be clever - more often than not, the vast majority of a financial adviser’s business revenue comes from existing clients, so it makes sense that this is where advisers should spend their time. However, our research found that 60% of client reviews often result in little to no change to accounts yet can take up to half a day of an adviser’s time to complete.

One way to speed up client reviews without compromising service quality is by setting up automated workflows within a practice management system like Xplan. Again, it can trigger a series of tasks, from automatic invitations to clients who are due a review to tracking their acceptance, sending the client a personalised review pack including valuations, and then a reminder notification. It can also send the relevant review documentation straight to the adviser’s inbox ahead of the appointment. If a client portal is used, all documents can be automatically shared between the adviser and the client. It’s all tracked, and the risk of mistakes is minimised too.

Revenue management

Revenue and remuneration is a time-consuming and high-stakes process for financial advice practices. Automating it can generate significant time savings and eliminate errors.

There are revenue management systems that can automate everything - import of supplier statements and bank receipts, sales and pipeline reporting, remuneration models, revenue splits, invoicing, reconciliation processes, comprehensive reporting and payment distribution. Evidence shows that modern, automated revenue management systems, like CommPay, can be up to 50% more efficient than doing it the manual way.


Meeting your promises and satisfying the regulator mean good compliance often equals good business. A well-run and compliant business can also be more efficient, so with the cost of compliance increasing year on year, this is another area well worth automating.

Building compliance into your processes digitally can significantly reduce the time your business spends aggregating information. Use financial advice software like Xplan that automatically records audit trails, performs valuations, makes policy amendments, notifies you of deadlines and events, and alerts Compliance when a case is ready for review. Certain practice management systems, including Xplan, will also generate your key reports for you, including RMAR and Gabriel, plus any other ad-hoc regulatory and business reports you need while allowing remote support from compliance specialists. You’ll wonder how you ever managed it all before.

Service personalisation

Offering a personalised and bespoke service to every client is what every business should strive for. Realistically though, it’s not always feasible to achieve with the volume of other high-priority tasks required to meet basic service levels. But with the power of automation, it’s easy to introduce small touches that make a big difference to your client relationships.

For example, why not automate personalised emails to send on your clients’ birthdays or anniversaries? Or, as your clients near retirement age, a friendly personalised email from their adviser to ‘check in’ and suggest some timely financial considerations - and a catch-up, of course. There are many opportunities to add these personalised touches to your service once you have the right technology to support you. A good financial adviser platform like Xplan will also take care of essential admin throughout the client's lifetime, including a change of client details or in the event of their death.

Does your financial adviser software do all this?

Your back office system or CRM system alone won't support you with all of this, so look for financial advice or IFA software that does, like Xplan, which now also comes in a package specifically designed for smaller financial planning businesses who want an easy way to deliver advice their clients love.

Using technology to automate the repetitive and time-consuming aspects of the advice process is probably the only way financial advice businesses can deliver more affordable and profitable advice. But automation isn’t just about cost savings. With the ability to deliver smoother, more efficient experiences for both advisers and their clients, businesses that automate could find that their client satisfaction and engagement rates improve too.

Xplan Essentials

Our new software package, Xplan Essentials, has been designed especially for small advice businesses and includes built-in automated workflows as standard to help you with:

  • Client onboarding
  • Client reviews
  • Letter of authority
  • Valuations
  • Change of client details
  • Policy amendments
  • New business and account opening
  • Advice process
  • Deceased client

If you're a medium-sized or growing advice business, we also offer Xplan packages with the option to customise workflows to your requirements.

How can we help?

Want to be more automated this year? Of course you do! Get in touch, and let’s make it happen.