CPD: How to turbo charge your XPLAN (and get ahead of the pack)

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Are you making the most of your XPLAN functionality?

If you’re not making the most of your XPLAN you’re not alone. It’s Australia’s most popular financial planning software for a reason – but that doesn’t mean we all know how to get optimum value from it. Richard Liverpool, Head of Sales & Marketing from Ignition Wealth, offers some tips on avoiding common mistakes and the best places to start when you want to power up your XPLAN.

Ever bought a supercharged new car or a feature-rich new phone and straight away knew exactly how to use all its functions? (Be honest). If your answer is “no”, then join the other 99% of the population – and the vast majority of advisers when it comes to their XPLAN.

The truth is, most advisers are not making the most of XPLAN’s functionality. Once upon a time this was not necessarily a big deal. Even a few years ago just using XPLAN straight out of the box was enough to put your firm ahead of the game in terms of office efficiency and ability to scale.

But those days are over. The game has been changing and the race to achieve efficiencies is more intense. With uptake of advice and planning software accelerating, the first mover advantage has gone. It’s now become not so much a matter of if you are using smart technology to support your practice – it’s a question of how.

Broadly, the best way to ensure you get the most from your XPLAN is to start with a clean slate. From there, you’re free to get expert support to customise your software to deliver the functionality your specific advice business needs.

The following is a list of common software issues that can be resolved to clear the way for a smoother, faster more tailored experience. If your firm is experiencing any of the following, then you might consider calling on some expert help to get you powered up and ahead of the game. There’s a range of consultants available to help, and it’s usually more time- and cost-effective to have help on call rather than paying a full-time in-house resource

This list is based on our first-hand experience at Ignition Wealth, where we have a dedicated team of XPLAN specialists on call to help clients with everything from efficient set-up to troubleshooting with integration issues through to next level advice technology support to get build best-of-breed hybrid capability. We call our XPLAN service Ignition NEXT.

Fix it first – start with a clean XPLAN slate

Yes, XPLAN works out of the box. However, it is designed to be configured to suit a wide range of different practice needs. If you are using straight out of the box, it’s likely that you’re only tapping into about 10-20% of its functionality. It may also be that what you have got up and running isn’t optimum for your practice and may even have added an extra layer of complication to your life.

Here are some of the most common mistakes we see. The good news is, they’re easy to fix.. You’ll see savings in time and resource use immediately if you do.

  • Unwieldy advice documentation. If you’re struggling with editing, merging and printing multiple advice documents from XPLAN, there is a better way. The whole point of the software is to smooth manual processes and deliver fast, accurate documentation. If you’re having to modify documents post processing – be it to correct duplications or tailor “safe” generic documents for each individual SoA – then you’re doing XPLAN’s work instead of your own. Excessive documentation reworks are a sure sign that you need some expert help.
  • Data integrity problems. Your advice and efficiency is only as good as your data. We see a lot of firms just putting up with data problems and their numerous knock-on consequences, in the false belief that there’s no choice. The fact is, there is a choice – but it does involve a trade-off. The trade-off is spending more time and effort at the beginning to get the data entry right, rather than trying to sweep up and retro-fix at the end (including dealing with angry clients and potential compliance breaches). Cleaning up your data issues where they start – with data entry – is the best long-term resolution to destructive and persistent problem. Again, there’s good news. Various services can assist with data cleansing to ensure clean entry, clearing decayed data, using the most up-to-date information you have and reducing or eliminating duplication. So, if data is causing you drama, seek help today.
  • When data feeds go wrong. Did we mention that your advice is only as good as your data? That includes data feeds. We’re all addicted to them because they’re the raw material that guides our decision-making and informs the quality of the advice we give. That’s until the feeds go wrong. The reality is that every platform has different interfaces, and the data quality between platforms is significant. If you or a provider are operating on an older version, the result is too often that you get differential data from your feeds. That affects the quality of your advice – and serious credibility problems when you’re trying to provide a transparent report on your client’s portfolio. The fix? (Because again, there is one.) Get expert help to assist in the setup of a streamlined, updated feed service that dramatically reduces feed issues.
  • Multiple wizards leading to multiple reworks – every time. It’s happened to all of us. As time moves on, we update, upgrade, add on. Before we know it, we’re stuck with a legacy system that creates more work than it does. This is never more the case than with advice wizards. Take the impact of multiple advice wizards on regulatory updates. If you have multiple templates set up by your wizards within XPLAN, then every single time there’s regulatory change, by Centrelink, for example, you need to update every single template. The answer? Again, it’s an expert fix but it’s a permanent one. Ask about a single advice wizard to rule them all – because it is possible to choose a single wizard that does it all. The Ignition NEXT SoA Wizard is just one example.

So, my XPLAN slate is clean. Where NEXT?

Let’s assume you’ve called in the experts and cleaned your XPLAN slate. You may be content with that – you now have a smooth, clean efficient machine to drive your practice efficiency steadily along. It’s what XPLAN is renowned for, and rightly so.

But, to return to our analogy of the new car or phone, for advice practices, running steadily along may not be enough. It’s like driving the turbo-charged car in third gear or using the smartphone for calls and texts only. It’s not necessarily going to put you ahead of the game or enable you to scale up your advice to support growth and expansion.

That’s when you may want to consider going to the next level with XPLAN. That means getting some more (you guessed it) expert advice. You’ll likely be looking in two areas.

First, some expert customisation to directly align XPLAN’s features with the way your advice practice operates – or, more accurately, the way you want it to function. That takes into account factors like size, staff mix, clientele types, specialisation. Most advice practices we customise for liken this experience to moving the car into overdrive, or learning how to email on the phone.

And Second? That’s probably the most exciting of all. It involves integrating your XPLAN service digital advice technology. This enables you to move into the turbo charged realm of truly hybrid advice, where the combined power of XPLAN with the latest advice tech work seamlessly together to service more clients, better, for less.

In the same way as software like XPLAN has revolutionised our industry, we believe this next level in hybrid advice is just around the corner, and will change the face of our industry forever.

 

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1 comment

  • Michael Kinens says:

    Also worthy of consideration is the Insights Community. Insights (https://goo.gl/bofDTS) provides like-minded wealth management professionals with the opportunity to discuss, develop and share ideas focused on utilising IRESS’ capabilities in order to build better and more profitable businesses.

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