An ongoing challenge for financial planning firms, regardless of their size or scope, is providing, personalized service to clients while maximizing productivity in a way that allows both profitability and the potential for growth. Inefficient processes, often attributable to cumbersome and outdated software, can hurt a firm in several ways.
One of the biggest problems that inefficient processes cause is wasted time — a limited resource regardless of firm size, or business model. Lost time can also mean lost potential revenue and the profit that goes with it.
Complex or inefficient processes can also cause reduced quality of the product or service provided. When an overall process takes too long to complete, employees may try to rush their specific part in the process, producing a larger margin of error and potentially damaging client relationships.
Inefficiency can also damage your firm’s culture. Many of the steps involved in onboarding new clients are time consuming, repetitive, and offer numerous opportunities for human error. Not to mention they’re boring and having to spend too much time on rote tasks can lower morale throughout the firm.
Processes Must Be Kept Up to Date
As important as it is to develop repeatable processes, it’s really only the first step. An onboarding process that works well when you have a handful of employees may not work at all anymore when your headcount grows. Yet the BP Trends 2016 State of Business Process Management study found that more than half (54%) of organizations surveyed had never or only occasionally documented processes and kept them up to date.
In order to maximize efficiency, firms must ensure their processes are thoroughly documented, consistently enforced and regularly evaluated.
Too Much of a Good Thing
It’s also important to recognize that technology alone is not the answer. Software solutions that can only do part of the job or that don’t integrate with the rest of your IT infrastructure can also lead to inefficiencies, especially if employees have to transfer data from one application to another. There is such a thing as too many processes and too many steps in a process. It can be difficult to accomplish tasks at a high rate when processes are too convoluted, and client experience may suffer if processes are not uniform among employees.