FEBURARY 18, 2020

Financial Planning Changes | How to survive and thrive in this new world.

By Shane Reid

The success of your financial advice practice hinges on its efficiency. The more clients you can assist to achieve their financial goals, the greater the cash flow to your business.

Like many specialties in complex regulated industries, financial advisers have traditionally been hampered by inefficient administrative and compliance processes.

Even in the digital age, it’s standard during fact finds for clients to provide pages of hand-written information that must then be reviewed and entered into Xplan or another software system. If information is found to be missing, you have to contact the client and then wait for them to fax or mail it through before you can manually enter it into Xplan.

This double handling of information introduces the risk of data entry errors and eats up hours of your valuable time each week that could be better spent generating new business or servicing your existing clients.

What’s more, filling out a paper form isn’t a great onboarding experience for new clients who have come to expect seamless digital journeys from service providers.

New digital technology takes the hassle out of fact finds

AdvisorTools from Umlaut solves these issues by allowing clients to enter their personal financial information into a digital form that automatically syncs to Xplan, Myob, Xeppo and other software systems.

AdvisorTools follows a simple four-step process for seamless data capture and storage.

  1. You send your client an email with a link to the digital form.
  2. Your client fills in the form via the online portal.
  3. You review the data with your client to avoid errors.
  4. Once approved, the data automatically syncs with Xplan or your software system.

It’s easy to use, convenient for your clients, and automatically moves your data to your current systems so it’s accessible across your practice.

AdvisorTools transforms the client onboarding experience by delivering four significant benefits over the traditional paper-based process.

  1. Saves you time so you can get back to advising
  2. Helps boost revenue and grow your business
  3. Impresses clients and turn them into fans
  4. Ensures your data is error-free and compliant

Let’s look at each of these benefits in more detail.

Spend more time finding and servicing clients

How many hours in an average week do you spend scanning, printing, posting and chasing up forms? Add to that, the amount of time you spend manually entering client data into Xplan or another software system.

AdvisorTools completely replaces the slow paper-based process with a streamlined digital experience that saves you on average 1.5 hours per client.

Let’s say you see around 130 clients each year, which is about average for an adviser in Australia. AdvisorTools could save you up to 195 hours per year! Divide that by the average work day of 8 hours and that’s over 24 days, roughly five work weeks back in your schedule that you can dedicate to building your book or supporting your existing clients.

Just imagine what you could do with all that extra time.

The customisable online portal allows you to seamlessly collect data from both new and existing clients. You receive alerts when forms are completed so you can sync the data directly to Xplan or your software system.

No more waiting for clients to fax or mail through forms, you have the data when you need it.

Boost revenue and grow your business

While online fact finds are still in their infancy in the Australian financial advice market, we can get a gauge of their potential by looking at their impact in the field of mortgage broking.

Loan Market mortgage broker, Jacob Decru, credits the online fact find with driving his best ever month of settlements. He cleared $10 million in October 2019, eclipsing his previous record of $9.6 million by $400,000!

Throughout the month prospective clients completed almost 90% of the 45 online fact finds he provided.

“We’ve gone paperless in the office for ease and efficiency, but customers also expect that. Today, they want the professionalism of a digital broker,” Decru said.

Decru said the online fact find has saved him hours of time and won back the time other brokers have lost to added compliance.

From a financial advice perspective, online fact finds present similar outstanding potential for revenue growth.

If the average adviser sees about 130 clients each year, that equates to 2.5 clients per week.

By saving the adviser on average 1.5 hours per client, AdvisorTools puts close to five work weeks back into the adviser’s schedule each year.

Ongoing financial advice in Australia costs on average $3,450 per client each year.

So if you were to pick up an extra 2.5 clients each week to fill the five extra weeks that AdvisorTools has put back into your schedule, that’s around $43,000 in additional revenue each year!

Although impressive, $43,000 is only a conservative estimate as clients with complex needs could deliver well above that figure in advice fees and the efficiencies provided by AdvisorTools could allow you to service significantly more than 130 clients per year.

Also, practices with more than one adviser could achieve multiples of that figure as AdvisorTools allows them to streamline their entire client onboarding experience.

The potential for revenue growth is undeniable.

Impress clients and turn them into fans

When a client meets you for the first time, they want to know they are in safe hands. In 2020, that means providing them with a seamless digital experience.

Banking, technology, energy, internet and insurance providers have set expectations high by offering customers digital access to their accounts with automatic prompts and alerts to help them complete tasks and stay on schedule.

Being forced to fill out paper forms during a fact find in the age of smartphones, tablet computers and apps makes the average client wonder what else in your business won’t meet their expectations.

The clean modern design and effortless functionality of AdvisorTools makes a great first impression and reassures clients you’re capable of providing the leading-edge customer experience they’ve come to expect.

Built-in error checking assists clients in entering the right information into the form. You review and approve the information with a click and the data automatically syncs with Xplan or your software system.

It’s simple, seamless and convenient, exactly the experience your clients want and are willing to pay more for.

According to research from PWC, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. The more expensive the product, the more they’re willing to pay.

Financial advice is a significant expense for the average Australian consumer, but one they are willing to pay for if their experience matches or surpasses their expectations.

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, which is why it’s so vital that your first meeting with a client reassures them they’re in safe hands – an intuitive digital onboarding experience does exactly that.

Keep your data safe and secure

A rewarding financial advice relationship is built on trust. The client has to trust the advice you provide to help them navigate through complex and frequently changing tax rules and legislation.

They also have to trust that any personal financial information they provide to you will be recorded and stored safely. Just like bad advice, a data breach can damage your client’s trust in your practice, sometimes irreparably.

A survey of over 1,000 consumers by the US data company Janrain showed that consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of data security with 71% downloading software that protects their data privacy.

Beyond security, data quality is also a concern for financial advice practices that want to harness the full potential of client data.

Research firm Gartner found bad data is on average costing businesses 30% or more of their revenue at an average of $15 million per year.

AdvisorTools protects data security and accuracy by preventing transcription errors and seamlessly passing approved data through to Xplan or another software system.

Built-in error checking assists clients with entering the right information and automatic reminders are triggered to jog their memory if they forget to include something. Once information is provided, you can access it instantly.

No more waiting around for clients to mail or fax through documents, you have all the information you need right at your fingertips.

Get an extra five weeks back in your year

Stop wasting hours each week scanning, printing, posting and chasing up forms. Put an extra five weeks back into your year and wow your clients with a seamless digital onboarding experience that surpasses their expectations. Ensure your data is error free and compliant and avoid costly manual mistakes.

AdvisorTools from Umlaut can help you achieve all this while boosting revenue to expand your business.

If you would like to find out how you can save time, service more clients and ensure data integrity by streamlining your client onboarding process, book a demo.

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