It is estimated that there are over 10,000 Family Offices* in the United States. At their core Family Offices fulfill two needs for families:
- To provide actionable data for better decision making
- To provide risk management and eliminate surprises
How Successful Family Offices Deliver
Traditional family offices offer the following services:
- Financial reporting
- Cash management and bill pay
- Tax preparation
- Investment strategy and oversight
- Estate planning
- Insurance planning
One of the primary benefits of having a Family Office is that foundational services such as cash management and investment oversight can be tailored to the specific needs of the family. Families can decide to elevate certain aspects of the service offering and outsource other aspects. High performing Family Offices use best practices of systematized controls and data management to eliminate surprises, increase transparency and to promote better decision making.
While not all Family Offices offer Bill Payment services, many family members utilize such services whether through a personal book keeper that works directly for the family or from a service provider such as their accountant.
Whether this is a service the Family Office offers directly or not, there should be certain best practices that are followed that help the family make better decisions and manage the risks of Bill Payment.
Typical Bill Pay Process at Family Offices
A typical process looks something like this.
Datafaction recently conducted a market research survey on bill pay practices. 0ver 88% of respondents ranked “a lack of controls and manual processes” as their biggest bill pay pain points. Given the typically manual bill pay process, it’s not surprising that when asked what kept them up at night, “missing an important bill” was the number one response from Family Offices. When the bills you are responsible for include insurance payments, utilities and mortgages, it’s an understandable concern.
The biggest issues with this process are:
- Wasting time logging into multiple systems to handle multiple entities - and the data entry errors that inevitably come with rekeying data
- No imaging integration, which means you are losing data and wasting time during data entry
- Lack of systematic internal controls, automated workflows and visibility leading to increased risk
- Paying bills with multiple methods – checks, online, pre-authorized debits leading to missed bills, double payments and hard to track data for auditors
- High exposure using pre-printed check stock
See it in Action: Bill Pay Elevated
Successful Family Offices use technology, like AgilLink, that is:
- Single sign on for accounting, bill pay approval, document storage and online banking
- True multi-entity platform- your clients have multi-entities, your accounting system should too
- Integrated document imaging for invoices
- Internal controls and workflows built with the family office in mind
- Streamlined electronic payment methods
- Real time banking transparency for better cash management
- Blank check stock eliminates the risk (and hassle) of storing pre-printed check stock
- Eliminate dual entry saving time, money and reducing manual data entry errors
Here is what the process should look like.
By combining the best in breed technology designed for family offices with bill pay best practices, Family Offices can eliminate risk, and give their clients actionable data and better service.