By Cody Davis
7 Keys To Changing Your Planner Software
Financial advisors spend a great deal of time building and maintaining their financial planning business. They gather client data, establish goals and objectives, then develop a plan to help clients accomplish them. These plans are monitored and maintained over the years to make sure the client stays on track. However, over time the firm’s strategy may change and the financial planning software used to develop these plans may need to change as well. For example: a firm may change custodians, or a team of Financial Advisors may move to another firm and use their new financial planning software. When a transition is made to a new financial software application, there is a lot to be considered to ensure clients’ plans are updated and moved accurately to the new application.
As you proceed down the path towards the new software application, you should:
- understand your firm’s most important processes that have a major impact on your financial planning business solution;
- define your financial planning strategy;
- review the capabilities of the various software options (cash flow vs. goal based, customizations, integrations etc.);
- gather internal intelligence and documentation, working with experts at your firm to gather thoughts and review current documentation around your planning process;
- analyze key metrics, planning volumes, and tracking models; and
- compare the price of different software options.
Once the decision has been made to use another software, the transition process can be complicated. Often, not everything can be imported from your previous software, and advisors must rebuild some portions of their client’s plans manually. Additionally, the accuracy of the data must be checked, ensuring that the new plan maintains the integrity of the original plan. Consideration will also need to be given to underlying assumptions and whether to keep the system default intact or customize. With a new financial planning software, sometimes default underlying assumptions (e.g., inflation, allocations, CMAs) may differ from the previous software and the Monte Carlo results may change.
Firms must also plan to measure and gain adoption by the financial advisors so that they will utilize the new software and realize the benefits of the technology investment.
The key to an effective transition is a disciplined approach that includes:
- Defining the work, sequencing the events, and identifying milestones
- Identifying resource needs and assigning accountability within
- Identifying and managing risks, issues and gaps in the decision process
- Establishing and executing an internal communications plan
- Establishing goals so that Advisors are enthusiastic about using the application to achieve greater AUM and can spend more quality time with their clients
- Developing a change management plan, including stakeholder readiness, training, and support
- Monitoring and reinforcing changes to ensure the benefits are realized
Outsourcing the Transition Process Makes Sense
Outsourcing the transition process to change management and software experts helps ensure you are making the best decisions. They can lead you step-by-step through the vendor selection and transition processes, so you and your team can spend more time with clients and ensure they have confidence in their retirement plan.
Oyster can help you move to and navigate new Retirement Planning Software so you can spend more time creating plans and growing your business. Our consultants use their change management expertise to help you transition between planning products and provide a proven framework for assessing your needs, gathering requirements, preparing the Request for Proposal (RFP) and scoring the responses.