6 things financial advice businesses need to know before changing software

So you’ve heard about and hopefully seen the benefits that specialist financial planning software can bring for your business and are ready to take the next step towards implementing it.

It’s exciting but it can be daunting too. Changing software is a major decision for a lot of businesses. It’s easy to get put off by the thought of the potential disruption and the uncertainty of moving from a familiar trusty old way of working to something new or different.

We’ve assisted enough software implementations to know that problems only tend to occur when there has been insufficient planning and preparation. A lot of businesses don’t realise that there are a few things that first must be done for a smooth and successful transition.

So here are 6 top tips for financial advice businesses about to make the leap to a new practice management system:

  • Prepare your data

Implementing new practice management software is an exciting opportunity to start afresh and get your house in order. Having clean data isn’t only more professional, but brings many other benefits including:

  1. A smoother migration to the new system
  2. More opportunities to get the most out of the new system (particularly if you want to offer a client portal or automate some of your manual processes)
  3. Improved decision making through access to accurate analytics on your clients
  4. Keeping compliance with GDPR rules
  5. Better brand integrity by ensuring the data you share back with clients is correct.

It’s worth checking to see if your technology partner or provider can support you with pre-migration data preparation. At Iress for instance, we have a tool that can analyse your data and spot any weaknesses within it. Our team has helped hundreds of businesses clean up their data. Don’t worry, they’ve seen it all and they know the best processes to follow.

  • Set a clear goal

In our experience having a clear vision or goal significantly improves the journey and the final outcome of any software implementation project. It’s important to keep your project grounded and ensure your team is focused and driving in the same direction. Moreover, setting out a clear and palpable end goal will give you the motivation and tact you need to overcome any tricky obstacles you might encounter. A good technology partner will help you identify your ‘north star’ and keep you driving towards it.

  • Rally your team

You can’t (and shouldn’t) design by committee, but it’s essential to involve your team in the project as much as possible, right from the start and throughout the journey to your new software. Get their input on how they think technology could improve their processes and outputs, and involve them in your decision making.

Sometimes that’s more easily done with a third party that can be objective. At Iress, we work with our clients to help identify their project group, ask the right questions and keep them all informed of major milestones along the way.

  • Don’t run before you can walk

While it’s always good to think big, don’t try to run before you can walk. Phase your project into clear, manageable milestones. It’s better to have a strong foundation and go slowly, than rush everything and set yourself up for failure later down the line. Doing it the right way often turns out to be the quicker way anyway.

At Iress, we have developed a step-by-step implementation methodology, tried and tested by hundreds of businesses. We start simple so that everyone gets comfortable with the core of the new software, then work at their pace to gradually expand their use.

Before you know it, you’ll be ready to introduce more functionality to enhance your capability such as automation, cashflow planning tools, or a client portal.

  • Don’t skip the training

You will learn as you go, but the more time you invest in training at the beginning, the smoother your transition to the new system will be. It’s worth asking your software provider what training they will provide and if they charge for it.

We always provide free training (done virtually) for everyone in the team, that includes core system training plus bespoke training for different roles. We also offer on-demand training webinars any time you need to refresh or expand your knowledge

  • Is it the right time?

It’s important to recognise when the timing is (or isn’t) right to migrate to a new system. In the current environment, some firms may find themselves with more time to spare which could make it the perfect time to change their software. For others, it might make more sense to hold off a little longer.

Of course, it may never feel like ‘the right time’, but when you’re feeling reasonably prepared, you’ll find that technology partners like Iress provide close support to guide you through the transition to your new software and beyond.

So there you have it; six tips that will help make your transition to new financial advice software a success. Go forth and make that leap, you’ll be glad you did.

Is your business is ready to go further with new advice software, but is lacking the time, resource or confidence to make it happen? Find out how we can help.