Over the last few years, candidates have had an increased focus on what technology the firms they are considering employ. So much so, that we have witnessed firms actually lose a few candidates that could have been excellent planners to fin tech start-up types. With that in mind, this month's post is to challenge you to take a look at your current technology infrastructure to see if your firm is meeting the mark.
1. Utilize Software: Believe it or not, we have firms contact us that do not use any type of financial planning software or customer relationship management (CRM) software. The prior is understandable especially if there is not a focus on financial planning however using Outlook or Excel or nothing at all for CRM is concerning and virtually eliminates a firm’s chances in attracting the best and brightest talent. New planner candidates are being trained on all of the most popular programs such as Redtail, Junxure, Tamarac, Salesforce CRM systems as well as Moneytree, MoneyGuidePro, eMoney, Navicient planning software programs. So they tend not to be as excited about an opportunity when they learn the firm uses custom excel spreadsheets or no software at all. If you have considered moving to a more mainstream program, hiring a newer planner and letting them take the lead on research, selection and implementation is something that tends to excite them.
2. Have An Appealing Website: Gone are the days of viewing your website as “an online brochure.” A comment we get frequently from firms. Ideally, you should probably be updating your website every 3-5 years, just to give it a fresh, new look. Check out Vista Wealth Management's website at www.vistawealth.com for some ideas on a clean and modern website. Have a LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, and Facebook page all with your picture because prospective clients and candidates will review these to decide whether they can see themselves working with you as their planner or their employer.
3. Up to Date Hardware/Software Tools:onsider upgrading computers every couple of years since performance doubles around the 18-24 month mark. Also, be sure to have large monitors for your team members (possibly multiple screens for each employee) for both visual appeal and increased productivity. As I travel out on the conference circuit, I have noticed a trend of shifting away from the bulky laptops and iPads to hybrids such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 and Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro marketed as a hybrid to replace your tablet and laptop. Items such as these are worth considering as you visualize how work gets done in your firm now and in the future since working remotely, flexibility, and hardware adaptability are revered by the next generation planner.
In the end, using technology can help make your organization more efficient, more capable of growth, and ensures you appear on the forefront of the industry. Current and future team members want to be a part of a technology-centric culture and not stuck at a place they perceive to be “an old school firm” unwilling to change. In an article on the FPA website from last year, industry experts seem to agree that average annual spending for a financial planning firm on technology should be a minimum of 3%-10% of revenue. If you are not currently utilizing these offerings, start your research process, or instead hire a new planner to help you sort through all of this, so you can continue to do what you do best.