Advisers know that technology must play a central role in their practice; but choosing the right software can be a difficult task. Here are five things to think about when reconsidering your advice software.
The world has changed since COVID; digital adoption has sped up, accelerating a trend that was already well underway thanks to regulatory pressures that have made providing financial advice more challenging.
Many advisers have now left the umbrella of big institutions as the industry has restructured. This means they have greater control over their businesses, but it also leaves them with a challenge – how to replicate the framework and support needed to become scalable while offering quality advice.
When reconsidering your advice software; here are five areas you should consider.
Advice tools are the fundamental component of an advice platform. They provide capabilities such as cashflow modelling, scaled advice, comprehensive modelling, and product and insurance comparisons, with outputs that can easily flow through to an advice document.
When considering if the advice tools are right for your practice, think about the type of advice your offer and the type of clients you serve, and ensure the platform provides advice tools that cater to these needs.
Also consider their ease of use, accuracy, efficiency, and how well they’ll help you explain the advice to your clients.
Efficiency and process improvement
Technology aims at improving the way we work by automating tasks and facilitating process efficiencies.
There are many areas of the advice process where technology can reduce manual tasks. A digital fact find will reduce double data handling – system integrations can also help with this. Built-in key risk indicator monitoring and alerting simplifies compliance management, as well as providing transparency. Template management solutions can drastically reduce the time it takes to manage and generate advice documents.
Think about where you spend a lot of time on mundane tasks and look for a solution that can automate or simplify the process in these areas.
Building a strong client relationship is the job of the adviser, but technology can provide ways to support advisers in this area through client education and ongoing engagement.
As an example, explaining the impact of different decisions on a client’s long term financial position can be very difficult; simple and visual tools that show the impact of changes can help demonstrate the value of advice and improve client literacy.
Look for software that helps you educate and involve clients in the advice process and provides simple ways for them to engage on their terms through digital channels such as a client portal and calculators.
Implementation and management
As well as the software’s functionality, you should also consider the time and cost required to set up and manage the solution.
With cloud-based solutions, installation and management is very simple; you login through a web browser and all technology management and development requirements are covered by the software provider. On-premises solutions generally require IT resources to manage the solution, by moving to the cloud you eliminate this overhead and risk. For either option, you should consider whether it offers a suitable level of reliability and data security for your practice.
Also consider the human aspects of the software; a solution that is easy to learn and use and requires minimal training will enable you and your staff to get started with minimal effort, and the availability of a good support team will be vital when you need a little extra help.
Total cost of ownership
At a basic level, think about the cost of purchasing the software and any associated costs such as implementation fees, and compare these to the costs associated with your existing or alternative solution, as well as the time you expect to save across the business by making the change.
There may be other areas to consider as well. Do you expect the new software will help you bring in more clients at a lower cost, or reduce your reliance on outsourced paraplanners? Instead of focusing on the price, consider the value you will get for the money you spend.
Find out more
To find out more about Midwinter’s financial advice software AdviceOS, click here to book a demo.