Here’s what our Managing Director, Yusuf Yeganeh, wants you to consider when it comes to back office systems.
You really can’t have a ‘good’ back office system without solid technology underpinning it. That means you need more than just applications with a range of modern features. You need to make sure they’re integrated and hosted on reliable and secure platforms. While your staff are your biggest asset, the information they store and share should be housed within your company, not their heads. And definitely not on their personal devices.
For IFAs especially, security should be a key consideration. You’re handling a lot of sensitive information and mistakes could seriously cost you and your clients.
Integration and visibility
A good system should cover more than payroll, compliance, data and document management. All these elements should seamlessly integrate with each other.
If you outsource some aspects of your business, whether that’s HR or Accounts, then make sure you have some level of access to the systems your providers use. You need to trust the technologies that support your business. You know it’s a good system when the bulk of your company time is with your clients, not on back office tasks. Your client shouldn’t have to deal with your back office processes.
IFAs should focus on providing advice, not managing IT administration and support. We tell our Managed Services clients (and our own team) that if they find themselves doing anything twice, the third time had better be automated. If you rely on employee memory or spreadsheets, that’s an indicator your system isn’t good enough. Your priority should be saving manual hours, which means automating administrative tasks wherever possible. You can benefit from alerts and reminders, improved reporting and analytics, and of course this is all while ensuring everything is secure and remotely accessible.
Start on the right foot
SMEs have advantages over larger companies, especially when you think about things like training, change management and ingrained culture. Small businesses and IFAs should be looking at out-of-the-box solutions that are trusted to integrate with a variety of other platforms, and in some cases have an open API. If you’re still using local servers, get yourself on a Cloud platform such as Azure.
Small businesses are in a great position to implement systems quickly and affordably. Security and storage are your first priorities, then it’s front-end user experience.
- Is it intuitive?
- Is it easy to onboard new staff?
- How future-proof is it?
- Are updates included?
- How much training does it require?
All these things will make it easier for staff to follow certain processes and make the most of the technologies.
A feature-rich CRM
For financial advice SMEs employee information is at the heart of your company. This means you need a good CRM from the get-go. A good CRM will analyse what your clients have in terms of wealth and where they want to be.
Customer relationship management systems might not seem that important at the start, but even with only a handful of clients, they’ll pay off. You’re far more likely to risk client relationships and retention if you don’t keep full and accurate records of your communications right from the start.
You want a CRM to track and even predict your journey with your client, whatever future personnel changes you might have. I see all too often where, say, if an IFA is struggling to generate business, they’ll look back through their accounts and create a list to up-sell to, but if they don’t have a system that’s kept on top of things, they’ll likely be missing key data and they might find they’ve lost some clients to former employees. A good CRM has the capacity to actually process figures for your clients and reach out to them. Some IFAs will still have Excel sheets with their clients’ AUMs and they probably have a separate CRM. That’s not the way you want to go; the most advanced IFA CRMs will be connected to live feeds so clients can keep track of their investments easily, and automate some communications.
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