An established work flow and process is critical to the smooth functioning of almost any business and the financial advice business is no exception. All too often, a business gets started and the founders do not take the time to fully work through how the recurring tasks should be planned out to ensure both consistency and thoroughness. When it becomes apparent that one needs to get a solid process in place, it is often too late to get it done easily and without interfering with the necessary day to day tasks.
Some advisers say that this is OK as each of them in the business has their own approach and clients and everyone is happy. But what about the times a client has a need and the specific adviser is unavailable – on vacation, at a conference, ill, etc. – and the available adviser does not know where all the necessary information is located to effectively service that client? If an adviser does not have comprehensive notes regarding the client, the plan, the investments and how all tie together?
When you have a usual process in place, this information is readily available to all (who are allowed and need access) and in a format understandable to all. This makes servicing clients easier, allows for others to step in as needed and also allows for compliance and firm-wide metrics allowing better understanding of the business and how it is working.
The good news is that there are firms and consultants available who can help you develop, memorialize, test and implement firm-wide processes to address the potential problems and their associated risks. It also helps to satisfy some real compliance needs and improves the firm’s results on audit. Without a process – written (whether digital or paper) – a firm’s ability to successfully grow and maintain a high level of service is severely compromised. Do you have that process in place?