I recently had the pleasure of talking with a long-time user who made me feel really good about what we do here at PreciseFP. The topic of advisory practices going paperless came up and I mentioned how I thought that PreciseFP had helped save a few trees over the years by helping advisors go paperless. He said: “Don, you’ve saved more than a few trees. You’ve saved an entire forest“.
When we started on our exciting journey back in 2007, we had no idea that we would have such a profound impact. Not only on the environment, which I truthfully hadn’t thought about to the extent that my advisor friend had. But we hadn’t anticipated that, by making the entire client interaction experience more customizable and, in many regards, more “human”, that clients would be more engaged and willing to go through the financial planning process. When I stop and think about it, I have to ask myself but why wouldn’t they be more engaged? With no papers to shuffle or boring, generic questionnaires to fill out, the resistance to engagement is low. Advisors are so focused on the output: charts, reports, etc with so little attention given to the input side of things. The problem is, if you don’t focus on the front end, on the data gathering experience, the quality of the output, along with the quality of the client experience, suffers. It seems simple, yet I can’t tell you how many paper-based questionnaires I still see in use by advisors.
So we know that paper is bad for the client experience, but what about the advisor’s practice? As inconceivable as it may seem, here is a process that I still see most advisors follow:
- Step 1: e-mail or mail an intake form to client
- Step 2: client fills out form by hand, prints and mails/emails to advisor
- Step 3: advisor manually enters data into CRM and financial planning tools
- Step 4: advisor stores document for future reference either in physical filing cabinet or scans + shreds + files original with client handwriting
- Step 5: for annual review, repeat steps 1 through 4.
Impressive, isn’t it? The above process is so wrought with inefficiencies, I don’t know how an advisory practice can afford to even deal with paper. I guess that speaks volumes to the amazing business that is wealth management in that it affords us time to be inefficient. But, I would argue, that luxury is slowly being whittled away.
I could add up all the time that each of the above steps takes and how PreciseFP either reduces that time or eliminates it altogether. But that would make for a really long article. And I’m already impressed that you’ve stuck with me and are reading to this point. If you’re using PreciseFP, you know that it’s a tool that you could live without. But as a user, you also know that living without PreciseFP in your practice doesn’t make a lot of sense either. So why would you?
Thank you Jim F. for inspiring me to write this blog article. Thank you for being a friend to all of us here at PreciseFP. And thank you for being a friend to our Earth.
Don Whalen, CFP®, CEO