How to choose the right back-office system for your business and your clients

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By AdviceBridge

The art of running an advice company effectively and efficiently hinges on having the right technology systems and processes to quickly and accurately provide information to your staff in supporting your clients.

Business owners and leaders of a financial advice practice need to balance the deployment of skills at the front end to attract, secure, and keep clients while ensuring that the back office delivers on the service being provided to clients.

When everything works as it should, you keep both your clients and your staff happy

But what if you have limited experience in technology or business systems and process organisation?

Without knowledge or certain expertise, the idea of reviewing your business technology to ensure it performs effectively can lead to overwhelm and frustration. And not just in you, but your staff and your clients may suffer because of poor design and bad implementation.

Even if you employ a practice manager or IT manager, or hire a consultant, unless they have kept up to date with the rapid development of systems you could struggle to find and implement the right software.

Take a step back and review everything through a fresh pair of eyes

Whether you already have an established business, are setting up a new practice or have recently acquired a new one, it’s often a good idea to step back and review everything with a fresh pair of eyes.

Start by drawing a diagram of the process from start to finish. Set out on paper exactly how you would wish to see it happen. Include all the functions that need to take place and assign who would perform each step – for example, an administrator, paraplanner, adviser, or the technology itself.

Consider the use of technology

With each step or process outlined, work out if you need an individual solution for each, or, with technology, can one system cover a couple of stages?

At the heart of most practices is a back-office system where client data is collected and stored. However, many firms use a system that has been in the business for years, often having grown and mutated through acquisition. And yet there has been little attempt to consolidate data into one central system.

Most advisers tend to choose their back-office system from a small group, such as Intelliflo or Iress. But these systems don’t always do what they want, or they can come up against issues that the developer should have sorted, but still have not.

One of the biggest issues is that advisers choose from these few names simply because they are the largest, or most well known. So, rather than doing the proper due diligence of their own or reviewing whether the system delivers on expectations, they blindly buy into something they don’t properly understand and that may fall a long way short of expectations.

Break the negative cycle and protect your business

The technology then turns into a love-hate relationship, while potentially undermining staff morale and, worse still, letting clients down. The only way to break the cycle is to invest more time and do proper research and testing of a wider choice of systems to find the most suitable for your business.

How can you identify a “good” back-office system?

The most important thing to look for when you’re implementing or upgrading your back-office system (like any other software) is what it will do to save you, and your staff, time.

Good back-office providers focus on their core proposition and engage other software providers to enhance their own offering and make it more appealing (and functional) to advisers.

Those that try and replicate others expertise often fall short, lagging behind, and frustrating their users who can’t engage services they see peers accessing.

The ideal back-office system will seamlessly integrate the front, middle and back-office applications. Even if you use separate applications, it’s vital that the data can flow between them without manual intervention.

Data capture is vital and continuous

Throughout the client life cycle, data is continuously captured. A platform should take this into account and deliver a system with secure data storage and include client data as and when it changes.

Here’s a selection of things that should be considered in the system you choose:

  • Risk profiling
  • Goal setting
  • Advice delivery
  • Implementation
  • Performance
  • Reporting

Ideally, you want a platform that:

  • Uses modern, cloud-based open architecture
  • Has a track record of delivering successful rollouts to new customers
  • Has secure data storage.

Make security and storage your top priorities

If you have good systems, you can spend most of your time with clients. If your back-office systems are affecting the service you can deliver to your clients, you need to act now.

Financial services and the challenges the industry faces are constantly changing, so you need a system that can keep up.

Implementing the wrong system now or continuing to use a system that fails to deliver on your needs will have a direct negative effect on the productivity and profitability of your business.

Why AdviceBridge could be what you’ve been looking for

The AdviceBridge platform is easy to implement within your business. It integrates seamlessly with existing software and significantly improves your business processes.

Whether you want to spend valuable time with your clients, make your business more cost-efficient, or automate your advice journey, the AdviceBridge platform is great for maximising profits.

By digitising many of the manual, time-consuming processes, you waste less time on admin, compliance, and reports, allowing more time to focus on your client relationships.

It takes unengaging, complicated, and time-consuming tasks and replaces them with engaging, insightful, and meaningful information and recommendations.

Advisers and clients get their own separate dashboard along with an easy-to-use interface. The simple and meaningful interface creates an engaging experience by allowing your clients to see how altering their finances will affect them now and in retirement.

Get in touch

If you want to find out how AdviceBridge can help you grow your business, please get in touch. Email or call us on 020 3925 3850.