No matter what company or industry I work for I am always told that my focus must be on things that make money. Yet I often find that what I believe makes the money is different to what others believe makes money depending on their own personal focus within the business. I find this sometimes frustrating in the extreme. I am writing this blog as an Administration Manager who readily admits that I am still only young to the Financial Planning industry with only six and a half years of experience including client service, paraplanning and management. However, at the ripe old age of 39 and with over 13 years of office management experience across several industries I still believe that the key to making money or should I say saving money in any business is to develop efficient, time saving processes in all areas and to continually adjust them as new ideas and technology become available . For what is Time if not Money!
I have found XPLAN to be a fantastic program that has enabled me to develop these time saving processes. Now don’t get me wrong I am no expert on XPLAN and learn more each day about the capabilities of the program and what I can achieve through its various systems. I currently do not have all of the licenses and capability that XPLAN offers and therefore must work with what I have to come up with solutions that work.
As part of the IRESS Community I continually read questions about how to improve the review and FDS processes as they are time consuming and very manual. Therefore, I would like to share what I have been able to develop so far in the hope that it may help others so that these processes are no longer a burden. While creating change can be frustrating and time consuming, I find the rewards are invaluable.
Through the use of Scheduler, Templates, Threads and Tasks I have been able to automate a large percentage of the Review and FDS administration process and will continue with my ideas on how to increase this percentage.
When used together the below items largely reduce the amount of manual processing involved in the review and FDS processes:
- Schedules that automate many of the steps.
- Diary Templates which activate Threads.
- Threads that include 'Outcomes' in Tasks that produce Xmerge reports including investments and insurance
- Fully coded FDS and Review Reports
I chose to use the Scheduler instead of Alerts as I do not have the licence to enable me to access Alerts. The Scheduler is a feature which allows you to create a set of steps to run one after the other to perform various activity at each step at a scheduled date and time. I have found the Scheduler to work for just about any administration process. You simple create the schedule with the steps you want, set the date and time that you want it to run let it do its thing. It can be used Reviews, FDS, Portfolio Reports and Newsletters assisting in cutting down the time to complete these manual jobs.
In my experience the review process is along the lines of:
- Search the clients who are due for a review.
- Printing a list of these clients
- Send them an email or letter informing them that it is time for their review.
- Following up the email / letter with a phone call to book the meeting
- Produce documents for the Review appointment
- Adviser holds the meeting
- Creating of documentation if required RoA / SoA etc
- Implementation of those documents
Below is an example of a Review schedule. As you will notice the first 4 steps of the review process are included in this schedule and will happen automatically on its scheduled date and time.
When a meeting is booked using the Diary Template the Review Thread activates automatically.
The first task in the Review Thread is allocated to administration to prepare the review file. From my experience this usually involves at a minimum printing a reverse fact find, portfolio and insurance reports. As XPLAN utilises Datafeeds from both insurance and investment providers, I have created a coded report that pulls all required information from XPLAN removing the need for administration to login to individual platforms to print reports.
This report and the reverse fact find have been added to the Prepare Review File task and are automatically created and emailed to administration when the task is completed. Thereby reducing the time it takes Admin to create the documents required for the appointment.
I’m not saying that you can eliminate all manual processes but you can certainly find ways using XPLAN to make them more efficient and less time consuming, giving staff more time to dedicate to other items of more value.