To automate or not to automate? Here’s what’s best left to technology

Automate it versus manual work - automation tasks and manual work set out on spheres and cubes in 3D illustration.

By AdviceBridge

One key advantage of introducing automation to business operations is that it enables you to execute tasks in a fraction of the time compared to humans.

This is hugely attractive in terms of time and cost. But there are two issues that you need to consider before ploughing ahead:

  1. You may want a task automated, or you may want it undertaken by a human; you’ll need to know which camp each task falls into so you can avoid starting down the wrong path.
  2. It may not be possible to completely automate all tasks you wish to; you’ll need to consider the best mix for that task or process, building both automation and human steps in.

Also, exception handling will need to be considered and determined by the complexity and added benefits.

While automation can be brilliant, instead of taking a considered approach to the overall processes of a business, companies often tend to strive for as much automation as possible.

So, read on to understand the areas begging to be automated, and those that are not.

Not all business tasks are appropriate for automation

While automation is a great way to help optimise business processes, help your team feel motivated and productive, and provide consistent customer service, it’s all too easy to misuse if you automate the wrong things.

Failing to use automation correctly can waste time and resources. Worse still, it can cause both employee and customer confusion. With that in mind, here’s a few tasks that shouldn’t be automated:

  • Long phone trees – Automating large sections of your telephone support channel suggests disinterest in customer communication. It wastes their time and makes them feel devalued and almost certainly irritated.
  • Uncommon processes – If a process isn’t routine, straightforward, or time-sensitive, automating it will likely be a step too far. For example, rebalancing a portfolio in line with a change of client circumstances, or simply the passing of time, will almost certainly require a conversation and an adviser to advise and act on decisions.
  • Highly complex processes – Sometimes complex processes need humans to intervene and make decisions. Processes that demand significant human attention at many stages should be broken down. You may find it possible to automate smaller, simpler segments of a large task.
  • Low return-on-investment – This includes any processes that would offer no or low ROI if automated. The ideal tasks to automate are those that are high volume, have low variance between each transaction, and come at a high resource cost to perform.

In a nutshell, think of automation as a tool to help your human employees increase accuracy and efficiency in completing their most complex tasks. And don’t attempt to automate the entire process.

Use technology to automate repetitive, mundane business tasks

Automation is about getting technology to do the work you do time and time again.

By off-loading the repetitive, mundane tasks to automation you can free up time to spend on more lucrative work, such as client relationships.

Many practices already use a range of technology to complete various tasks. However, there are often many manual steps performed in using each “automated” tool. Linking and truly automating these will remove countless steps and free up valuable time.

There are also many tasks that financial advice practices do repeatedly that should already be automated, including…

Client fact-finds

The client fact-find and onboarding process can be long-winded and repetitive. Requesting the same data multiple times is tedious for everyone and there’s a risk of losing your client’s interest early on.

The AdviceBridge platform delivers automation to remove many of the repetitive onboarding tasks, including the fact-find. Automating the fact-find means you can focus your efforts on building the relationship – instead of slogging through the paperwork again.

The time savings from automating the onboarding process can increase capacity for bringing more clients on board without compromising the quality of service you provide. What’s more, a good onboarding process offers fantastic opportunities to scale, efficiently and profitably.

It’s worth noting that AdviceBridge cuts the time spent on a new client down from the typical 25 to 30 hours to under 5 hours, including meetings.

The client review process

Once onboarded, client service can become far less high contact and there’s scope for further automation of advice processes.

With the vast majority of your business revenue coming from existing clients, it makes sense that this is where you should spend your time. However, CityWire reports that 60% of client reviews can take up to half a day of an adviser’s time, yet often result in little to no change to accounts.

AdviceBridge can help speed up client reviews without compromising on service quality.

The system can analyse and review the clients holdings in seconds, instantly producing an annual review report, cutting hours from a review.


Meeting client expectations and satisfying the regulator go hand in hand. A well-run and compliant business can also be more efficient.

This is another area where the AdviceBridge platform can pay dividends.

The platform automatically generates reports and information in clear language that won’t hinder clients’ ability to properly assess products or services that you recommend. The software uses the data it holds to ensure that recommendations deliver the benefits that consumers reasonably expect and are appropriate for the client’s needs.

Finally, detailed management information captured and stored within the platform ensures your firm would be ready to provide information and data to the FCA. This robust easy-to-access data will allow you to easily evidence outcomes of your monitoring and testing activity.

Read more: Get ready for the new Consumer Duty before it bites

Service personalisation

Offering a personalised and bespoke service to every client is what every business should strive for. Unfortunately, this aim isn’t always feasible when faced with other high-priority tasks required to meet basic service levels.

The good news is that with the right approach, automation makes it easy to introduce small touches that make a big difference to your client relationships.

For example, with the client-side app from AdviceBridge able to send instant alerts to let you know of changes in client financial circumstances, you can easily know when it might be appropriate to make contact and suggest some timely financial considerations.

Get in touch

To find out more about how AdviceBridge can help you automate your business processes and benefit you, your team, and your clients, get in touch. Book a demo, email, or call us on 020 3925 3850.