With pressure to deliver affordable financial advice profitably, tackle rising costs and improve time efficiency, it’s no surprise that more and more financial advice practices are looking at ways to automate their processes.

Automation - in its simplest terms, getting a computer to do the work instead of you, is one of those things that most businesses know they should be doing but don’t because they don’t 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.

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If you want to up your A-game, start by asking, ‘should you be doing the work in the first place?’ If the answer’s ‘no’, just get rid of it. There is no sense in automating work you shouldn’t be doing.

Similarly, automating a one-off process may not be particularly valuable either. Automation is most effective when technology takes over your time-intensive and mundane tasks so that you can put your precious time to better use.

There are many things that your financial advice practice repeatedly does that are worth automating. These are my top five:

1 - Client fact finds

You don’t need me to tell you that the client fact-find and onboarding process can be long-winded and repetitive. Asking for the same information multiple times is tiring for everyone, and there’s a danger you’ll lose your client’s interest before you’ve even had a chance to provide your expert advice.

Financial advice software with automation capabilities can remove many repetitive tasks associated with onboarding a new client or managing a client’s change in circumstance. For instance, clients can update their information, and you can produce pre-populated documentation and send it automatically to the client for a digital signature. You can even set up trigger alerts to colleagues when it’s time to complete the next task.

Automating client fact finds means advisers can focus entirely on building the relationship - not the paperwork. The time savings can create a greater capacity for bringing more clients on board without compromising service quality. What’s more, a good onboarding process offers opportunities to scale efficiently and profitably.

Birling Wealth Management is one business that’s made light work of client fact finds. They saved 10-15 hours every month using Xplan to automate their client onboarding processes.

2 - The client review process

Once your new client is established, service can become much less high contact. That means there’s plenty of scope for further automation of advice processes.

Be clever about it - your business revenue often comes from existing clients, so it makes sense that this is where you should spend most of your 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. It can trigger a series of tasks such as sending automatic invitations to clients who are due a review, tracking their acceptance, sending the client a personalised review pack and a reminder notification. It can also send relevant review documentation straight to your inbox ahead of the appointment. All documents can be automatically shared between the adviser and client if the client portal is used. It’s tracked, saves so much time, gives a better client experience, and minimises the risk of mistakes.

Lewis Investment slashed their print and postage costs and now say everything is so much easier using automated workflows.

3 - Revenue management

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

Xplan’s revenue management system CommPay can automate everything, including importing supplier statements and bank receipts, sales and pipeline reporting, remuneration models, revenue splits, invoicing, reconciliation processes, comprehensive reporting and payment distribution making it up to 50% more efficient than manual processes.

4 - Compliance

With the cost of compliance increasing every year, this is another area well worth automating.

Building compliance into all of your processes digitally can significantly reduce your business's time aggregating information. You can automatically record audit trails, get notifications on deadlines, and send an alert to Compliance when a case is ready for review.

A practice management system like Xplan will generate key reports for you (such as RMAR and RegData) while also allowing remote support from compliance specialists. You’ll wonder how you ever managed it all manually before!

5- Service personalisation

Every business should strive to offer personalised and bespoke service to every client.

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 are near retirement age, a friendly personalised email to ‘check in’ and suggest some timely financial considerations. There are many opportunities to add these personalised touches to your service once you have the right technology to support you.

“If you want to cut time-consuming, mundane tasks and deliver a smoother, more efficient experience you simply have to automate. Using a system like Xplan makes it easy to run a more efficient, more profitable advice business with a happier team and happier clients.”


How can we help?

If you want to put some fizz in your fact finds, some oomph in your onboarding, and a shimmy in your service, you know what to do. Get in touch with some humans.

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