CPD: Looking​ ​ahead – ​planning​ ​for​ ​“what’s​ ​next” ​​in​ ​advice​ ​tech

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How​ ​can advisers​ ensure​ ​they​ ​stay​ ​ahead​ ​of​ ​the​ ​curve​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​new​ ​solutions?

Ignition​ ​Wealth’s​ ​Richard​ ​Liverpool​ ​looks​ ​at​ ​the​ ​future​ ​of​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​and​ ​how​ ​advisers​ ​can ensure​ ​they​ ​stay​ ​ahead​ ​of​ ​the​ ​curve​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​new​ ​solutions.

Technology​ ​is​ ​constantly​ ​evolving​ ​and​ ​financial​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​is​ ​no​ ​different. ​​There​ ​are​ ​myriad solutions​ ​available​ ​and​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​challenging​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​up​ ​to​ ​date​ ​with​ ​the​ ​changing​ ​advice landscape.

Ask​ ​many​ ​advice​ ​business​ ​leaders​ ​what​ ​keeps​ ​them​ ​awake​ ​at​ ​night​ ​and​ ​nine​ ​times​ ​out​ ​of​ ​ten you’ll​ ​find​ ​it​ ​is​ ​technology​ ​running-costs​ ​and​ ​operational​ ​risk.​ ​Advice​ ​firms​ ​are​ ​spending​ ​a significant​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​money​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​their​ ​competitive​ ​edge​ ​and​ ​address​ ​the​ ​ongoing​ ​challenges of​ ​compliance.​ ​Growing​ ​their​ ​team​ ​to​ ​handle​ ​this​ ​workload​ ​means​ ​more​ ​licensing​ ​fees, development​ ​and​ ​maintenance​ ​costs,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​many​ ​cases​ ​IT​ ​professionals​ ​to​ ​look​ ​after​ ​it​ ​all.

It​ ​has​ ​never​ ​been​ ​more​ ​important​ ​for​ ​advice​ ​practices​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​a​ ​pulse​ ​on​ ​their​ ​IT​ ​solutions​ ​–​ ​this includes​ ​having​ ​a​ ​long-term​ ​plan,​ ​and​ ​staying​ ​up​ ​to​ ​date​ ​on​ ​new​ ​offerings​ ​and​ ​features​ ​as​ ​they come​ ​available.

The​ ​uptake​ ​of​ ​advice​ ​and​ ​planning​ ​software​ ​has​ ​accelerated​ ​to​ ​a​ ​point​ ​where​ ​it’s​ ​no​ ​longer​ ​a question​ ​of​ ​​if​ ​​you​ ​are​ ​using​ ​smart​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​support​ ​your​ ​firm,​ ​but​ ​​how​​ ​you’re​ ​using​ ​it​.​​ ​For example,​ ​this​ ​applies​ ​to​ ​your​ ​firm’s​ ​use​ ​of​ ​XPLAN,​ ​Australia’s​ ​leading​ ​financial​ ​planning​ ​solution.

For​ ​the​ ​majority​ ​of​ ​practices,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​impractical​ ​and​ ​financially​ ​unjustified​ ​to​ ​have​ ​full-time​ ​tech support​ ​in​ ​house.​ ​And​ ​if​ ​you​ ​do​ ​have​ ​one,​ ​how​ ​do​ ​you​ ​know​ ​whether​ ​they​ ​have​ ​the​ ​skills needed​ ​to​ ​fully​ ​support​ ​your​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​needs​ ​–​ ​now​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future?

An​ ​outsourced​ ​consultant​ ​with​ ​a​ ​deep​ ​level​ ​of​ ​expertise​ ​in​ ​XPLAN​ ​and​ ​other​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​can help​ ​you​ ​utilise​ ​it​ ​to​ ​its​ ​full​ ​potential​ ​–​ ​with​ ​clarity,​ ​strategy​ ​and​ ​the​ ​right​ ​tools.​ ​Further,​ ​a​ ​good consultant​ ​can​ ​provide​ ​visibility​ ​to​ ​what’s​ ​on​ ​the​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​horizon;​ ​essential​ ​to​ ​future-proofing financial​ ​advice​ ​businesses.

Key​ ​reasons​ ​to​ ​engage​ ​an​ ​outsourced​ ​consultant​ ​on​ ​advice​ ​technology

Cost-effective​ ​over​ ​the​ ​short​ ​and​ ​long​ ​term

As​ ​a​ ​client​ ​adviser,​ ​the​ ​following​ ​phrase​ ​is​ ​one​ ​you’ll​ ​be​ ​familiar​ ​with​ ​-​ ​​ ​​the​ ​first​ ​rule​ ​of​ ​prosperity is​ ​to​ ​save​ ​on​ ​unnecessary​ ​costs​.

Outsourcing​ ​your​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​to​ ​an​ ​external​ ​consultant​ ​can​ ​reduce​ ​your​ ​operational​ ​costs​ ​–​ ​for example​ ​the​ ​costs​ ​of​ ​management​ ​oversight,​ ​employee​ ​training,​ ​and​ ​superannuation​ ​-​ ​by​ ​20 percent​ ​from​ ​the​ ​outset.​ ​You’ll​ ​benefit​ ​from​ ​leaner​ ​overheads,​ ​bulk​ ​purchasing,​ ​and​ ​leasing options​ ​for​ ​software​ ​and​ ​licenses​ ​whilst​ ​allocating​ ​resources​ ​efficiently​ ​within​ ​your​ ​practice.

Over​ ​the​ ​longer​ ​term,​ ​it​ ​can​ ​increase​ ​revenue​ ​and​ ​uncover​ ​hidden​ ​efficiency​ ​benefits​ ​that​ ​you were​ ​perhaps​ ​not​ ​expecting,​ ​leading​ ​to​ ​improved​ ​profitability​ ​for​ ​the​ ​business​ ​as​ ​your​ ​team​ ​are now​ ​supporting​ ​sales​ ​not​ ​admin.

Meet​ ​compliance​ ​requirements

An​ ​outsourced​ ​solution​ ​can​ ​consult​ ​you​ ​on​ ​how​ ​to​ ​use​ ​your​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​to​ ​meet compliance​ ​around​ ​things​ ​like​ ​Best​ ​Interest​ ​Duty​ ​and​ ​Fee​ ​Disclosure​ ​Statements.

Enables​ ​your​ ​firm​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​its​ ​resources​ ​on​ ​what​ ​it​ ​does​ ​best

It​ ​is​ ​neither​ ​practical,​ ​nor​ ​possible​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​jack-of-all-trades.​ ​Often,​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​knowledge​ ​that holds​ ​practices​ ​back​ ​on​ ​advice​ ​technology,​ ​as​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​difficult​ ​to​ ​navigate​ ​and​manage.

Similar​ ​to​ ​what​ ​you​ ​say​ ​to​ ​your​ ​clients​ ​-​ ​“engage​ ​me​ ​and​ ​I​ ​give​ ​you​ ​the​ ​expertise”​ ​–​ ​an outsourced​ ​solution​ ​can​ ​give​ ​you​ ​the​ ​same​ ​advantage.

It​ ​can​ ​free​ ​your​ ​firm’s​ ​internal​ ​resources​ ​up​ ​from​ ​potentially​ ​“lower​ ​value”​ ​work​ ​and​ ​enable​ ​them to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​higher​ ​value​ ​work​ ​–​ ​advising​ ​clients,​ ​strengthening​ ​relationships,​ ​and​ ​bringing​ ​in more​ ​business.

Exposure​ ​to​ ​professionals​ ​who​ ​understand​ ​“what’s​ ​next”

As​ ​technology​ ​marches​ ​forward,​ ​fewer​ ​in-house​ ​IT​ ​staff​ ​will​ ​have​ ​the​ ​skills​ ​to​ ​maintain​ ​legacy advice​ ​technology​ ​on​ ​behalf​ ​of​ ​the​ ​business.

Outsourcing​ ​to​ ​an​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​specialist​ ​has​ ​the​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​typically​ ​knowing​ ​what​ ​advice tech​ ​you​ ​should​ ​implement​ ​and​ ​what​ ​you​ ​shouldn’t.​ ​This​ ​can​ ​dramatically​ ​reduce​ ​your​ ​risk​ ​of implementing​ ​a​ ​something​ ​that​ ​either​ ​doesn’t​ ​provide​ ​what​ ​you​ ​need​ ​or​ ​isn’t​ ​providing efficiencies​ ​for​ ​your​ ​firm.

You​ ​also​ ​gain​ ​the​ ​added​ ​benefit​ ​of​ ​the​ ​collective​ ​experience​ ​of​ ​a​ ​team​ ​of​ ​professionals,​ ​as opposed​ ​to​ ​a​ ​single​ ​or​ ​small​ ​team​ ​of​ ​internal​ ​resources.​ ​As​ ​well​ ​as​ ​offering​ ​an​ ​external, outside-in​ ​perspective​ ​with​ ​strong​ ​financial​ ​industry​ ​knowledge,​ ​they’ll​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​gauge​ ​where you​ ​are​ ​along​ ​the​ ​continuum​ ​in​ ​context​ ​of​ ​your​ ​competitors,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​new​ ​tech​ ​and​ ​features​ ​in the​ ​pipeline.

Finally,​ ​they​ ​require​ ​their​ ​employees​ ​to​ ​have​ ​proper​ ​industry​ ​training​ ​and​ ​certifications​ ​so​ ​you can​ ​be​ ​confident​ ​in​ ​the​ ​advice​ ​you’re​ ​provided.

Potential​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​overall​ ​business​ ​value

Failing​ ​to​ ​embrace​ ​new​ ​technology​ ​platforms​ ​and​ ​leveraging​ ​the​ ​full​ ​potential​ ​of​ ​an​ ​advice​ ​tech solution​ ​could​ ​erode​ ​business​ ​value.

To​ ​a​ ​business​ ​owner​ ​who​ ​may​ ​one​ ​day​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​sell​ ​the​ ​firm​ ​to​ ​a​ ​successor​ ​to​ ​secure​ ​a comfortable​ ​retirement,​ ​outsourced​ ​solutions​ ​can​ ​help​ ​you​ ​tap​ ​into​ ​yet-unrealised​ ​value.

Complements​ ​agile​ ​businesses

The​ ​advice​ ​industry​ ​is​ ​being​ ​disrupted​ ​by​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​new​ ​and​ ​emerging​ ​players.

Outsourcing​ ​is​ ​complementary​ ​to​ ​agile​ ​business;​ ​it’s​ ​flexible,​ ​allows​ ​you​ ​to​ ​adapt​ ​alongside​ ​your business​ ​needs,​ ​and​ ​keeps​ ​your​ ​offering​ ​ahead​ ​of​ ​the​ ​curve.​ ​Vendors​ ​have​ ​multiple​ ​resources available​ ​to​ ​them,​ ​while​ ​internal​ ​IT​ ​staff​ ​may​ ​have​ ​limited​ ​resources​ ​and​ ​capabilities.

When​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​being​ ​across​ ​the​ ​broad​ ​spectrum​ ​of​ ​innovative​ ​developments,​ ​consultants​ ​will be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​recommend​ ​new​ ​solutions​ ​such​ ​as​ ​digital​ ​advice​ ​or​ ​new​ ​regulatory​ ​changes.​ ​Keeping up​ ​with​ ​this​ ​continually​ ​evolving​ ​space​ ​is​ ​challenging​ ​for​ ​an​ ​in-house​ ​team​ ​who​ ​is​ ​likely​ ​to​ ​only be​ ​experts​ ​in​ ​the​ ​legacy​ ​system​ ​they​ ​service,​ ​mainly​ ​due​ ​to​ ​time​ ​and​ ​budget​ ​restraints.

Tech​ ​disruptions​ ​are​ ​not​ ​your​ ​problem

Without​ ​an​ ​external​ ​partner,​ ​it​ ​could​ ​take​ ​in-house​ ​IT​ ​weeks​ ​to​ ​fix​ ​a​ ​large​ ​tech​ ​issue.​ ​Engaging an​ ​external​ ​consultant​ ​means​ ​your​ ​firm​ ​will​ ​no​ ​longer​ ​have​ ​to​ ​manage​ ​any​ ​disruptions​ ​or outages.​ ​A​ ​good​ ​consulting​ ​firm​ ​can​ ​and​ ​will​ ​throw​ ​numerous​ ​resources​ ​at​ ​your​ ​disposal​ ​to​ ​fix the​ ​problem​ ​quickly.

Choosing​ ​a​ ​consulting​ ​partner

There​ ​are​ ​numerous​ ​consulting​ ​partners​ ​that​ ​can​ ​help​ ​you​ ​tailor​ ​your​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​to​ ​your practice’s​ ​specific​ ​needs​ ​and​ ​get​ ​more​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​software.

Choose​ ​a​ ​consultant​ ​with​ ​the​ ​following​ ​features​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​you​ ​engage​ ​the​ ​right​ ​one​ ​for​ ​your business.

Uses​ ​an​ ​individual​ ​approach

There​ ​are​ ​solutions​ ​in​ ​the​ ​market​ ​that​ ​typically​ ​use​ ​a​ ​cookie-cutter​ ​approach​ ​for​ ​cost efficiencies,​ ​without​ ​paying​ ​enough​ ​detailed​ ​attention​ ​to​ ​what​ ​makes​ ​your​ ​firm​ ​different​ ​from your​ ​competitors.

Select​ ​a​ ​solution​ ​that​ ​takes​ ​the​ ​time​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​know​ ​your​ ​practice,​ ​and​ ​what​ ​makes​ ​it​ ​unique.

Has​ ​deep​ ​knowledge​ ​and​ ​expertise

Your​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​is​ ​essential​ ​to​ ​your​ ​entire​ ​business.​ ​Be​ ​sure​ ​the​ ​outside​ ​vendor​ ​is​ ​qualified​ ​to take​ ​care​ ​of​ ​your​ ​greatest​ ​needs.

Further,​ ​choose​ ​a​ ​provider​ ​that​ ​has​ ​been​ ​in​ ​the​ ​game​ ​for​ ​the​ ​long-haul.​ ​Long-term​ ​financial industry​ ​partners​ ​not​ ​only​ ​have​ ​a​ ​deep​ ​understanding​ ​of​ ​the​ ​operating​ ​environment,​ ​they​ ​share the​ ​same​ ​industry​ ​challenges​ ​and​ ​opportunities.​ ​Look​ ​at​ ​the​ ​individuals​ ​within​ ​the​ ​business​ ​– consider​ ​a​ ​consulting​ ​solution​ ​that​ ​can​ ​offer​ ​insights,​ ​skills​ ​and​ ​experience​ ​across​ ​a​ ​range​ ​of specialised​ ​areas.​ ​And​ ​find​ ​evidence​ ​it’s​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​at​ ​what’s​ ​to​ ​come​ ​in​ ​the​ ​advice​ ​tech space.

Better​ ​still,​ ​look​ ​for​ ​a​ ​solution​ ​with​ ​a​ ​local​ ​Australian​ ​team​ ​who​ ​will​ ​understand​ ​the​ ​industry context​ ​your​ ​business​ ​is​ ​operating​ ​in.

Is​ ​adaptive​ ​and​ ​works​ ​with​ ​your​ ​business​ ​the​ ​way​ ​you​ ​need​ ​it​ ​to

Some​ ​firms​ ​may​ ​wish​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​an​ ​internal​ ​resource​ ​they​ ​trust​ ​and​ ​plug​ ​in​ ​a​ ​consulting​ ​partner​ ​to provide​ ​additional​ ​educational​ ​value​ ​and​ ​support.​ ​However,​ ​you​ ​choose​ ​to​ ​structure​ ​the business/consultant​ ​relationship,​ ​choose​ ​a​ ​partner​ ​that​ ​will​ ​work​ ​collaboratively​ ​with​ ​your​ ​wider team.

Provides​ ​on-demand​ ​assistance

Issues​ ​can​ ​and​ ​do​ ​happen.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​important​ ​to​ ​identify​ ​them​ ​quickly.​ ​Any​ ​breakdown​ ​to​ ​your​ ​advice tech​ ​solution​ ​can​ ​have​ ​a​ ​direct​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​business​ ​efficiency.​ ​Choose​ ​a​ ​partner​ ​that​ ​will​ ​throw enough​ ​resources​ ​at​ ​an​ ​issue​ ​to​ ​fix​ ​it.

Advice​ ​practices​ ​should​ ​look​ ​for​ ​a​ ​solution​ ​that​ ​assures​ ​a​ ​fast,​ ​efficient,​ ​same​ ​or​ ​next-day response,​ ​technical​ ​or​ ​customisation​ ​support,​ ​and​ ​data​ ​integrity​ ​reporting.

Prioritises​ ​security

It’s​ ​one​ ​thing​ ​to​ ​know​ ​that​ ​your​ ​own​ ​system​ ​is​ ​secure​ ​–​ ​but​ ​what​ ​about​ ​your​ ​consulting​ ​partners?

Look​ ​for​ ​a​ ​solution​ ​that​ ​has​ ​bank-grade​ ​security​ ​and​ ​complies​ ​with​ ​key​ ​national​ ​and​ ​international regulatory​ ​legislation.​ ​It​ ​should​ ​also​ ​be​ ​supported​ ​by​ ​ongoing​ ​auditing,​ ​monitoring​ ​and​ ​annual certification​ ​by​ ​an​ ​independent​ ​third​ ​party​ ​authority.

This​ ​should​ ​be​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​key​ ​things​ ​you​ ​factor​ ​into​ ​your​ ​decision​ ​as​ ​your​ ​and​ ​your​ ​clients’​ ​data security​ ​is​ ​of​ ​the​ ​utmost​ ​importance.

Has​ ​innovation​ ​at​ ​its​ ​core

It’s​ ​easy​ ​for​ ​consultants​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​up-to-date​ ​with​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​innovations,​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​another​ ​thing​ ​for them​ ​to​ ​truly​ ​understand​ ​how​ ​this​ ​technology​ ​can​ ​benefit​ ​your​ ​business​ ​or​ ​how​ ​to​ ​effectively integrate​ ​it.

A​ ​consultancy​ ​that​ ​lives​ ​and​ ​breathes​ ​innovation​ ​understands​ ​the​ ​challenges​ ​that​ ​your​ ​business faces​ ​in​ ​rolling​ ​out​ ​new​ ​tech​ ​and​ ​can​ ​help​ ​make​ ​the​ ​process​ ​as​ ​simple​ ​as​ ​possible​ ​for​ ​you,​ ​and a​ ​seamless​ ​experience​ ​for​ ​your​ ​clients.

As​ ​technology​ ​advances​ ​and​ ​the​ ​advice​ ​industry​ ​continues​ ​to​ ​be​ ​disrupted,​ ​practices​ ​must​ ​have the​ ​solutions​ ​and​ ​support​ ​or​ ​risk​ ​a​ ​situation​ ​where​ ​they’re​ ​bound​ ​to​ ​legacy​ ​technology.​ ​A consultant​ ​that​ ​can​ ​not​ ​only​ ​provide​ ​advice​ ​and​ ​assistance​ ​to​ ​the​ ​current​ ​advice​ ​tech​ ​platforms, but that is continually looking at “what’s to come”, will become a vital business partner in the future.

 

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