One person sitting down at a desk expressing frustration while another person stands next to them holding a large stack of paper

How Inefficiency Impacts Your Financial Advisory Office

Interruptions, manual data entry, and poor collaboration cause the average American worker to waste roughly 25 percent of their day. 

Inefficiency isn’t just a problem that can derail your flow. It also costs organizations 20-30 percent of their annual revenue. And if you’re the owner of said organization, that affects you directly. 

People like you who work in financial advisory offices know how important it is to make the most out of your day since time working with and for your customers is money. That means minimizing distractions, having clearly defined workflows, and automating where possible. When these conditions are right, productivity is high, and your business grows. 

Having the right solutions in place can help you achieve your business goals. From customer management software to analytics and reporting tools, learning how to leverage what’s available to you can help you maximize your efficiency in the workplace. 

Common Sources and Consequences of Inefficiency

There are many issues that can rob your business of the ability to run smoothly:

  • Obsolete or outdated software: using solutions that repeatedly crash, need to be updated constantly, or that just don’t work for the modern workplace hinders your ability to get tasks done quickly.
    • Example: Whenever Eduardo gets a new invoice, he has to convert it to a different format and then upload it to the accounting system because the software is old and doesn’t recognize the file type. 
  • Ineffective methods of communication: when people aren’t able to easily and effectively communicate with one another, collaboration becomes too burdensome, limiting the possibility of cross-functional problem-solving and delaying the completion of projects.
    • Example: Acme Financial Advisors employees communicate internally only by email or phone and have no system that allows them to send each other instant messages, which lengthens the time between responses to urgent questions. 
  • Manual, repetitive processes: Inputting data line by line, taking notes by hand, and filing paper copies of documents are all unnecessary tasks that could easily be automated.
    • Example: One function of Joseph’s job is to cross-check business expenses against outgoing funds using two side-by-side spreadsheets. This takes up to four hours each workday, leaving him little time for other important tasks. 
  • Frequent interruptions: just when you’re getting into a flow state, someone or something takes your attention away from your task, which can take 23 minutes to recover from.
    • Example: Katherine’s desk is closest to the door, so when there’s no one at the front desk, she is frequently interrupted by a visitor dropping off a delivery or a walk-in client looking to speak with their financial advisor, causing her to lose focus on her projects.

There are very real consequences to these types of inefficiencies, and they all impact your business.

  • Wasted time and resources: when workers spend their time trying to update software, manually file documents, and show visitors around the office, they get less done.
  • Reduced client satisfaction: if employees are busy doing other tasks that could be automated or done by someone else using a different workflow, actual client work is delayed, causing clients to complain and take their business elsewhere.
  • Missed opportunities for growth: strategy sessions can take a backseat when your day is spent managing inefficient and time-consuming operations. 

Leveraging Software to Increase Efficiency and Productivity

Given the revenue lost due to inefficient practices, it behooves you to find every conceivable way to make operations run more smoothly. This could mean implementing new software solutions, revamping workflows and processes, or using different methods of internal communication. 

Streamlining Processes with Automation

Automating parts of your business allows you to scale more easily. This is because it can be applied to every department or function:

  • Sales: customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you automate follow-ups and pipeline updates.
  • Marketing: you can build automated email marketing campaigns that allow you to send emails whenever a prospect interacts with your business in different ways.
  • Customer support: chatbots and other similar tools allow you to respond to customer inquiries or issues with no delay, ensuring customers won’t feel ignored. 
  • Operations: a project management system tracks everyone’s responsibilities and which tasks they are due to complete on any given day, allowing projects to move forward to completion seamlessly.

Improving Internal Communication

While many businesses have turned to employee communication platforms to facilitate collaboration, some holdouts might not see the benefit of these systems because of the existence of email. 

However, email inboxes can easily and quickly become crowded, especially when multiple messages are being sent back and forth in a short period of time. This often leads to missed messages, some of which are vital to the work you’re doing. 

This is why messaging platforms – such as Slack or Microsoft Teams – exist. They allow you to create various channels or groups so you can easily keep communications about various projects in the same place. For example, in Slack, you can create a channel dedicated to customer support. This way, when there is an urgent customer situation requiring a lot of internal communication, you can resolve it quickly and easily. No clogging your email inbox. 

Minimizing Distractions and Interruptions

In our earlier example, Katherine was unable to focus completely on her work due to the influx of visitors in her office and her desk being right next to the lobby. We call this “Person Nearest the Door” syndrome, and it can rob you of hours’ worth of productivity every week. 

With a visitor management system like The Receptionist for iPad, visitors can check in using the system when they arrive. This way, if there’s no one at the front desk, the delivery driver, job candidate, or client can easily alert the person they’re there to see without interrupting Katherine’s day.

To learn more about The Receptionist for iPad, join the next product tour

Moving Forward

Your clients trust you to guide them in important financial decisions. Don’t let outdated processes or software prevent you from giving them your best. Invest in new technology to make your day-to-day operations run more smoothly, allowing you to scale easily. 

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