Is your financial planning process as efficient as it can be?

November 07, 2016 by Jyasi Corbett

A close-up of a man working on laptop at a desk, trying to improve his planning process

About the author

Jyasi Corbett

Account executive

Jyasi has worked with more than 300 different firms from the RIA, B/D, Bank, and CPA sectors. He focuses on educating advisors on technology trends in the industry and helping advisors efficiently implement new technology.

Over the past three years, I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of financial services firms. Everyone — and I mean everyone — is seeking ways to be more efficient.

Many firms are searching for integrations, aggregation, or fact finders that are the answer to all their problems. In the end, the solutions are never perfect and blame almost always falls on the technology.

Simple does not equal efficient

While working with these firms, I have noticed that advisors are willing to change their technology but are less willing to change their planning process. So I would like to ask you a question — is your financial planning process as streamlined as possible?

The immediate reaction of many advisors is, “Yes, I have been doing this for [insert a length of time here].” How many years have you been utilizing the same process — five, 10, 15, 20, or more? Even if you have only been leveraging your process for five years or less, technology and the financial services industry have changed drastically in that time period.

Do not get me wrong, I love the appeal of a routine. Routines become second nature to us, which often makes the tasks quite simple; however, just because something is simple does not mean it is efficient.

One example that comes to mind is the data gathering process. Everyone has had a client that brings in a box of documents that are out of date, missing information, scribbled on, or “guesstimated.”

As a result, advisors spend hours digging through the details in order to model a simple retirement projection only to find out their missing information. Then, the advisor often has to make assumptions to create a quality presentation that may not be as accurate as possible.

Keep your planning process simple and streamlined

The hard truth is, all that detailed information is necessary to present the best recommendations to your clients and prospects; but you do not need all the detailed information to begin the planning process with your clients and prospects.

The key to saving time, money, and mental anguish is figuring out what information is needed at each stage in the planning process and what questions are going to get you the appropriate information, because requesting all the details too early in the planning process will result in a burden for both the client and the advisor.

Keep your process as simple as possible by requesting information that is impactful for both you and your clients. Advisors must also give clients some direction on how they should present the data when it becomes necessary. It may seem very basic, but getting to the point quickly and collecting the data you need in an orderly manner will save you time and hassle.

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