How to move your advice business forward with technology

10 November 2021

Adrian Patty

Adrian Patty is a founder of the Advice Revolution. Adrian is a former financial planner, who now focuses on helping advisers use technology to solve efficiency problems.

How can busy financial planners harness the benefits of technology to help their practice compete and become more efficient and profitable? Adrian Patty, founder of Advice Revolution lays out the steps financial planners can take to embed technology in their business.

Technology was supposed to revolutionise financial planning businesses, reduce our costs, save us time and speed up our operations. Yet one of the biggest pain points across our industry is still back office inefficiency. The promise of technology delivering a repeatable, automated and well-oiled advice process has continued to elude most businesses.

Planners are excited about the potential that the right technology can bring to their business, but they struggle with knowing where to start and which tools are right for them. With so many options it becomes confusing, putting technology in the ‘too-hard’ basket. For practices that do decide to bring a new piece of software into their practice, far too many struggle to integrate this technology properly or get their team onboard, wasting money and resulting in frustration.

In a world where technology is making our lives so much easier, it can feel like it has never been harder to run a financial planning practice! The good news is there are plenty of financial planners delivering highly profitable and engaging client experiences with well-implemented technology at the core.

Success leaves clues – the 3 ways to get technology right in your business

To help you build a more efficient financial planning business on the foundations of technology, here are some insights drawn from the best-practice examples of some of the most efficient and tech-enabled businesses in our industry:

1. You need a technology champion

Getting your tech right requires a consistent focus, a deep knowledge of all your options and the ‘change management’ required to train your team and make sure they’re using it. If no one is currently wearing this hat in your business, you will never generate a return on your technology investment.

If you can’t find someone internally, we recommend you find outsource this role. While this is easier said than done, our industry is relatively small and the right person is probably two or three connections away from you now. Speak to people you know at your licensee, your software providers or other product providers. Tap into communities such as XY Adviser. Your problems have been solved before, you just need to find the person with experience of the solutions.

2. Start with your ideal client experience, then choose your technology

Most businesses have suffered from ‘shiny object syndrome’. This is where you invest in a tool that looks great, yet it never gets the use or internal take-up you expected. Typically this is because a tool is only made valuable by a clear and consistent system that ensures it gets used. If a piece of technology doesn’t solve a real problem, isn’t in your everyday awareness or is too hard for your team to use, it’s going to gather dust on the shelf while costing your business money.

Getting all your team on the same page is the most important part here. Define your ideal teamwide client experience, then decide on the optimal technology to deliver this. Turn each step of this experience into a clearly defined set of advice processes and comprehensively train your team on each aspect. Most businesses stop here, but monitoring adoption of your process and adjusting things based on the feedback and needs of your team is the difference between failure and success. Great processes are a work in progress, and should be treated accordingly.

3. Choose tools that talk to each other

There are some necessary parts of our back office that slow things down (such as compliance) but there are many unnecessary ones too, such as doubling handling of client data. Not only does this cost your team time and money, it also creates frustration and risk in your business. If client information is constantly being keyed and rekeyed, there’s a much greater margin for error and compliance risk.

When choosing technology, always prioritise tools that talk to each other. For data collection, you should be adopting tools that allow data to be entered once, then flow through to all the important technology platforms in your business. Fact finding tools like Advice Revolution, integrated seamlessly with an advice CRM such as XPLAN, make it simpler for clients to send their information to your business and more streamlined for your team in taking care of the subsequent steps in your processes.

What’s in it for you?

Technology is only as valuable as the problem it helps solve. Here are some real practitioners who have generated tangible benefits from getting technology right in their business.

  • Save adviser time

Dane Baldwin (Baldwin Financial Services) has saved up to 5.5 hours per client by adopting a digital fact find in his business. This translates to a saving of $1,200 per client at an adviser rate of $220 per hour, freeing up his team to take on more clients and leading to a 37 per cent uplift in his monthly revenue.

  • Deliver advice faster

Nathan Fradley has accelerated client onboarding by integrating Calendly (appointment bookings software) and his fact find (Advice Revolution). “I used to have my applications working separately which would add multiple steps to my process. By bringing application functions together, there is now just one step to book a meeting and complete the fact find,” he says.

  • Improve Client Experience

Advisers are still putting large paper documents between them and their clients which creates a dull and inconvenient experience. “These days clients expect a frictionless digital experience,” says Kate Holmes from Innovating Advice. “They’re getting it in all other areas of their life and are asking the question…why should my financial advice experience be any different?”

Advice Revolution is providing an additional free month of the Plus Fact Find for Money and Life Reader.To access your free trial, book a demo at www.advicerevolution.com.au

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