The importance of a process-driven practice

June 7, 2018 by Tom Burmeister

People working in an office that has efficient processes

about the author:

Tom Burmeister

Director, financial planning

As the director of financial planning, Tom is an integral contributor to the strategic vision around our financial planning initiatives. Additionally, he is critically involved in all partner interactions, thought leadership contributions, and internal training programs.

Firms of all sizes across the globe often struggle with inefficient processes, which can cause many other problems like decreased customer retention, lower prospect-to-client conversion rates, employee frustration, and more.

The BP Trends 2016 State of Business Process Management survey revealed the following:

  • 54 percent stated their organization had never or only occasionally documented processes and kept them up to date
  • 73 percent stated their organization had never or only occasionally defined performance measures for evaluating the success of business processes
  • 55 percent stated their organization had never or only occasionally defined and documented the skills needed to perform the tasks in the major processes
  • 74 percent stated their organization had never or only occasionally trained managers to analyze, design, and manage business processes

Additionally, Boston Consulting Group conducted a study of U.S. and European companies in which they found that “the amount of procedures, vertical layers, interface structures, coordination bodies, and decision approvals needed…has increased by anywhere from 50 percent to 350 percent” in the past 15 years.

These statistics should bring two things to mind for your business:

  • Simply having processes in place is not enough, and firms must ensure their processes are well documented, enforced, and regularly evaluated
  • Processes that are too complicated can hurt your business equally as much as undocumented and unenforced processes.

By eliminating useless procedures, merging redundancies, and eradicating inefficiencies within essential processes, firms will experience a vast array of benefits including increased revenue, client base, and employee morale. Let’s explore some ways you can begin identifying inefficient processes.

Identifying inefficient processes in your firm

According to market research firm IDC, companies lose 20 to 30 percent in revenue every year due to inefficiencies; therefore, it is important to begin identifying these problematic processes as quickly as possible.

The best place to start when trying to identify inefficiencies in your firm is gathering any baseline measurements to which you may have access. Think of things like number of hours spent in meetings; customer satisfaction ratings and complaints; prospect-to-client conversion rates; customer retention; and more. After you have gathered your measurements, research who and what contributes to each of those metrics. This will become your roadmap of processes throughout your organization in which you can find inefficiencies.

Another way to identify inefficient processes is to speak directly with employees at different levels of the organization, vendors, and clients who may be able to provide a new perspective or solution. These people will have varied perspectives on processes through the business and client journey; therefore, it is imperative to step outside of your point of view and truly reflect on the feedback from these individuals.

Leveraging technology to improve and automate processes

According to the BP Trends 2016 State of Business Process Management survey mentioned earlier, 62 percent reported that their organization had never or only occasionally provided support through automated applications consistent with the defined processes used by the organizations.

Not only does this demonstrate that there is a lot of work to be done in automating business processes but also that many firms in certain industries, such as financial services, could be opening themselves up to major compliance risks.

By leveraging technology, such as NaviPlan® and its Presentation Module from Advicent, financial services firms can ensure they mitigate compliance risks; have efficient financial planning and onboarding processes; and provide a consistent client experience to those they serve.

With our data gathering tools, advisors can collect more thorough and in-depth information pertinent to their client’s holistic financial situation. Additionally, our financial planning tools strengthen organizational oversight by empowering home offices with firm-level compliance management that leverage predefined workflows.

Within Presentation Module, firms can leverage prebuilt presentations to help every advisor understand and satisfy the needs of any client who walks through the door with a streamlined, repeatable process. This ensures that all advisors follow the same data collection process and present the same set of results to clients.

Firms that leverage NaviPlan and its Presentation Module have reduced time spent developing financial plans by 35 percent, time spent on management reporting by 25 percent, and financial planning compliance expenses by 20 percent on average. Many firms have experienced high levels success when leveraging Advicent technology to make their processes more efficient.

Do not wait for your firm to suddenly become more efficient and profitable; start evaluating your processes and technology solutions that will make it better now.

To learn more about how NaviPlan and its Presentation Module can make your firm more efficient, click here.