Optimisation is defined as making changes to get the most effective use out of a resource. In this case, the resource is Xplan and we outline some helpful ways on how to get the most out of your financial advice software. By optimising your Xplan, you get a smoother workflow, fewer interruptions (or even no interruptions!), a precisely accurate outcome, and you could save money by reducing time spent on tasks and fixing errors. The best time to optimise your processes is at the very beginning when you first start operating; the second-best time is now!
Step One: Ensure Data is Correct
Your data is the very beginning point of your very sophisticated financial advisory output. Without accurate data, the entire financial planning process and advice could be drastically incorrect, leading to lots of time lost looking for where you went wrong, or even worse, compliance issues and lawsuits.
Define Data Entry Standards
To ensure your data is being entered into Xplan correctly, a reliable fact find data entry wizard can be used. This should be designed with your data entry standards in mind so the wizard can enforce your standards. If you don’t have data entry standards, now is the time to create them so everyone is on the same page when it comes to what info needs to be entered at a minimum.
Categorize and Group Your Clients
Categorising your clients and using groups where required can make analysis and reporting quicker, easier, more accurate and more useful. For example, categorising past clients as dormant can easily generate a report that you can use for re-engagement strategies across all your past clients.
Some clients have many related entities such as companies, trusts or super funds which can be more easily managed by using the Client Group function under Grouping. Using the grouping function means you can separate each entity and generate reports separately. This function also comes in handy if you have different books of business that you need to report on.
Define Process for Updating Files
To ensure data remains accurate as your clients progress through each stage of the advice process and through review, it’s imperative that you have a process for updating client files as they go. This can be facilitated by Xplan with automated tasks prompting you to update client information as they move through the process. For example, automated tasks and threads can ensure fields get updated automatically across the client database. Another great automated outcome is the use of checklist items in tasks to ensure that compliance steps are completed before moving forward.
Specify Mandatory Answers in Fact Find Data Entry Wizard
Every part of the fact find data entry wizard can be customised to specify mandatory answers, so you won’t be able to move on with incomplete data — which means you won’t need to go back later once you realise you’ve missed something!
It’s not uncommon to see errors arising due to the wrong users being assigned to roles, for example, when a client services officer is accidentally set in the adviser field. While it’s not possible to have the adviser field automatically set to the name of an adviser, what is possible by default is the appointing of staff members to specific roles. For example, if Adviser A is selected as the adviser, you can have the secondary adviser, paraplanner, mortgage adviser and client services manager automatically assigned. If each adviser uses their own support staff, the support staff will automatically be notified of their required tasks when the initial thread or task is created — so each job goes to the right team member.
Monitor and Fix Datafeeds
Incorrect datafeeds can cause all sorts of issues when it comes to financial modelling and management of client funds. For this reason, it is essential to ensure your datafeeds are correctly maintained. Firstly, check that they are set up correctly. Once you are sure they’ll correct, review the feeds weekly and correct any errors that come up as you go.
Step Two: Process and Task Automation
Automating mundane processes and tasks means you can free up your time to spend on more productive activities like relationship building, strategy, and delivering advice. We all know that time is money, so the standout benefit of automation is that you get to reduce costs by allocating resources to other areas.
Automate Client Reviews
Don’t ever lose track of who is due for a review again with the ability to automate review reports. Your client’s review date approaching can automatically begin the process of engaging the client for you by having review invitations and documentation automatically sent out without you even having to lift a finger. All you’ll need to do is check your calendar to see what date your client has booked in for!
Automate Initial Meeting Documentation
When taking on a new client there’s a lot of paperwork to be sent out for compliance and customer service reasons. Through automation, the initial meeting pack with your FSG and other documents can be generated with personalised details and sent straight to your client’s inbox for them to sign digitally. Once the documents have been sent off for signing, the next follow-up task can be triggered and automatically assigned to whoever is managing the process.
Automation can significantly cut down administration duties and reduce errors along the way. The examples above are just two from an endless list of possible processes. You are able to completely customise your workflow and processes with any number of tasks and documents being created through automation. If you can dream it, you can do it.
Step Three: Streamline Your Advice Document Generation
Have you ever merged a document from a wizard and then had to spend ages manually fixing up the formatting and errors? Most of us have been there, and while it doesn’t take a huge amount of time to fix up (often it does though!) performing these same edits over and over again every time you merge a document can become a huge waste of time. The answer is to go straight to the source and correct it there.
Follow this process to review your wizards and coded documents:
- Go through the wizard process and merge a document to find out what isn’t coming through properly during the merge.
- Make a note of any areas that haven’t correctly merged or fields you think you could make improvements on.
- Once you have an idea of what needs changing and upgrading, spend some time to ensure you’re updating the template correctly so the next time you merge a document you don’t need to waste time performing post-merge edits.
Opportunities to improve your Xplan wizards:
- Instead of building wizards with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, the Managed Field Content option can be utilised to allow default and custom text to be added inside the wizard — make changes before the merge.
- Cut downtime spent editing the post-merge documents by creating a well-structured wizard with conditional coding. This will ensure only the most relevant data is coming out of the wizard so you’re not wasting time editing the final document.
- With updates and new functionality, your once-perfect coding may not be applicable anymore. Keep up to date with any updates and remember to change your coding accordingly.
- Ensure there is cohesion between your client fact find and advice document wizards. This will make for a streamlined process, preventing the user from unnecessary double entry through the wizards.
You now have three handy steps to follow to optimise your Xplan and simplify your days in the office. We understand that some of these changes can be a little bit tricky and that’s exactly why we’re here to help! Reach out to us if you need any more info on how to optimise your Xplan — Improving efficiency, saving time and cutting costs is something you won’t regret.