To be successful, professionals who manage finances for high-net-worth clients have always required the most timely and accurate information. But the form that information takes has changed, necessitating new ways of gathering and exchanging it.
Increasingly, the sources of business information are digital systems. What used to be a Rolodex is now a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Payroll that previously depended on sending checks is now handled through automated deposits.
Systems like these provide the data you need to communicate with your clients. That holds true whether you’re providing a financial statement, putting together a quarterly review package, or responding to an urgent client phone call. Your firm builds client communications—and client wealth—using information from an ecosystem of different business systems with specialized functions.
Tapping a multiplicity of systems
You might have a CRM system to keep track of all the information about your clients, where they have their homes, where their pertinent documents are located—everything you need to know to provide high-quality service. You also have a setup to manage all the accounting information for clients. And if you work with clients in the entertainment industry, you have a means for keeping track of the residuals that individuals or families receive.
Then there is the tax preparation system. It includes not only the preparation software program, but also the ability to track K-1, W-2, 1099, and other document types that are critical to the process. You may have wealth management systems for client investments. In addition, your firm may help manage medical plans for clients, making sure people are properly covered and reimbursed.
Today, gathering data in these areas often requires the integration of your systems with outside sources. Your client’s investment data could be located at a bank or an outside money management firm. And as medical insurance management has become more complex, your firm may have engaged the services of a company that specializes in negotiating claims with insurers.
Pulling it all together
To look at the whole picture and provide the best service for your clients, it’s necessary to pull all that data together. Ideally, you want one place to go where all the systems talk to each other and everyone in your firm can get the information they need. A business manager must be able to get the facts from a centralized location and quickly provide information to the client. Back-office accountants need the same data for income projections or financial analysis.
Most financial management firms have adapted as different aspects of their business have become digital. Some of their systems are automated and integrated, while others are manual and paper-based. For example, a firm may have adopted a new time and billing management system that communicates with the tax return program to track staff time. But as yet the firm has no single solution that encompasses all systems and information.
Exploring the path ahead
The move to digital is a journey, and Datafaction has been at the forefront of meeting the evolving needs of financial and business managers. The pace of digitization is only going to increase, and the complexity of coordinating ever more sources of information will require integration to be done in an elegant, secure, and automated way.
But how? What are those systems, and how do they work to exchange information? What’s the best and most secure way to make them part of your workflow? That’s the subject of our next blog. Stay tuned.