Delegate these tedious but critical chores to technology

The right tools can save advisors time and improve the client experience

Key Points

    • Well-integrated technology can handle many tedious administrative tasks advisors once had to do manually.
    • Digital tools help streamline both back-office and customer-facing processes.
    • Freeing up time means more opportunities to serve clients face-to-face, leading to stronger advisor-client relationships.

Believe it or not, technology can make being a financial advisor more fun. How? By streamlining and automating many of the essential but tedious tasks that you and your team must do every day to keep the business running. 

Offloading these chores not only makes the workday more pleasant, it also frees up time for you to focus on the parts of the job you really enjoy—serving clients, solving problems, and helping families achieve their goals. And paying closer attention to client needs can lead to stronger client relationships, more referrals, and ultimately, more revenue. What's not to love about that?

Here are some of the ways technology can speed up time-consuming tasks. 

Streamline document management

If you think paperwork is an inevitable part of being an advisor, it's time to have another look at digital document management technology. Processes like onboarding clients go more efficiently when managed digitally. For one thing, it's faster and more convenient for clients to receive and sign documents digitally rather than filling out forms manually and faxing, scanning, or even sending physical documents through the mail.

Digital tools can also ensure paperwork gets filled out properly, which means less time spent tracking down information to fix missing account data. For example, advisors using Schwab's digital onboarding capabilities have seen "not in good order" rates fall from an average of around 30% to the low single digits.

Execute common transactions seamlessly

The ability to deal with paperwork digitally can also streamline your responses to common client requests. Automated digital workflows can make it easier and quicker to set up new account types, add or change automatic investment plans, and manage account beneficiaries. Technology that integrates the documentation step with the execution of common financial transactions can also save time and effort. Automated workflows mean clients can approve transactions securely on a mobile device, reducing the chance of fraudulent transactions while simultaneously managing compliance recordkeeping.

Increase face time with clients

Offering a digital experience for common interactions can be more convenient for you and your clients. For example, simple client-facing technology such as online meeting schedulers and video conferencing platforms can keep you focused on productive time spent working directly with clients, rather than the back-and-forth that's often required to set up appointments over email or phone. Pick tools that connect directly with your preferred calendar app to make scheduling a breeze—and to make sure you never miss a meeting.

Automate routine investment and tax management moves

Once you finish the rewarding work of aligning client portfolios with their goals, routine number crunching and data gathering doesn't need to be part of your daily experience. Digital tools can help you easily analyze portfolios to ensure allocations match clients' risk parameters at a glance, rather than making category calculations by hand. Automatic rebalancing frees up time for more important financial decisions. And when tax time comes around, tools that maintain cost basis data make gathering this important information faster and easier.

Whatever the mix of technology you choose, integration is the key

Having tools for each tedious task in your practice won't produce the best results unless they all work together. Before trying a new product, it's important to consider how it will interact with the technology you have in place. For example, a CRM (customer relationship management) tool that consolidates information on both prospects and clients gives you up-to-date information at your fingertips. But an onboarding tool that can't take advantage of that information could mean duplicated effort and the potential for mismatched records.

Most of the time, the best solutions will also be the most flexible ones. Every firm has slightly different requirements, and needs can change as the business develops. It's important to have a system that's capable of changing with you. Look for systems that offer a backbone of digital document workflow, account management, and trading under a single, secure login as well as the ability to integrate seamlessly with the widest possible range of third-party applications. That way, you can fine-tune the balance between automated processes and hands-on, high value work to meet your—and your clients'—needs.

What you can do next

  • Discover how Schwab's technology offerings can help your practice deliver exceptional service with less effort. 
  • Check out Schwab Alliance, the online and mobile platform designed exclusively for clients of independent advisors.
  • Consider a custodian that invests in your success. If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a Schwab custodial relationship.