Companies managing finances for high net worth clients are really two firms in one: business management and accounting firms. These two sides of the business are equally important in meeting the needs of celebrities, wealthy families, music stars, and prominent athletes. And both sides need to maximize efficiency and productivity so staff members can provide responsive services to clients, even as the number of clients grows.
Business managers handle numerous requests from clients and vendors daily, and they’re expected to resolve issues at a moment’s notice. A client might call and ask you, “How much did I pay for that painting eight years ago? Someone wants to buy it from me.” Or a vendor might call to dispute that your firm made a $30,000 payment on your client’s behalf.
Meanwhile, bookkeepers and accountants need to take financial information and generate statements, produce reports, assist with tax preparation, and more. This back-office team is responsible for maintaining the general ledger and conducting accounts payable functions, often for multiple business entities per client.
It’s a demanding business, and many firms look for technology solutions as a way to enhance efficiency and productivity. It might seem like the two sides of the business would require separate solutions, since each team has distinct functions and needs. But a single solution might make more sense.
Unifying two teams—with one workflow
As business managers move funds around to make sure the client has enough money, or collect backup material for transactions, they are continuously recording financial data. Keeping accurate, up-to-date records pays off when a client request comes in. A business manager must be able to get the facts from a centralized location and quickly provide information to the client. If you don’t have these essential capabilities, you won’t be able to meet your clients’ expectations, and they might begin to look for a new management company.
The accounting workflow is connected. The management team needs to provide all that front-end data to the back-office accountants so they can use the information for everything from income projections to financial analysis. You might have two sides to your business, but you actually have one continuous workflow that extends across teams.
Defining common requirements
In addition to sharing a workflow, the two sides of your business have four common requirements for a technology solution:
1. Accessibility. Both sides of your firm need to access data easily. Business managers and accountants need to quickly drill down into a transaction record to view backup materials.
2. Automation. Everyone can benefit from automated processes. If transactions are consistently categorized and coded when they are first entered into the system, the data will be easier for accountants to use. As a result, the accountants will be able to handle more volume, enabling your firm to more easily scale.
3. Auditability. Both sides of the business also need a system that can track data across the whole accounting cycle of a transaction, from entry through reconciliation, and provide audit trails. Auditing capabilities can help streamline compliance with policies and regulations while also enabling you to quickly identify issues in the event something goes wrong.
4. Security. Your clients demand tight security and the highest level of privacy. That means your front office and back office both need built-in capabilities for maintaining control over who has access to systems and data. They need secure ways to approve bills and view backup documents, search histories, and run reports.
Empowering both sides of the business with one solution
The two sides of your financial management firm have distinct functions but similar needs in a technology solution. Instead of deploying and attempting to tie together two distinct systems, consider implementing a single solution that offers the functionality each side needs while meeting the core requirements that both sides share. A single solution can reduce IT complexity and enables your business to achieve a more efficient, productive, and integrated workflow.