Technology and the financial professional

Technology serves, and it also drives change. A recent webinar from NAPA’s sister organization, the National Tax-deferred Savings Association (NTSA), focused on how technology is changing the industry and the new environment it creates for finance professionals. .

“We are told it is a contact sport,” said the presenter Toni E. Whaley, a financial planner with PlanMember Securities Corporation, on how industry members have been asked to do business. She observed that in the past, for example, those who tried to grow their business with on-site meetings with donuts in a living room were “blinded” by the pandemic, which ended the status quo “at a stroke. ‘stop’.

The goals of automation, Whaley said, include:

  • management of time;
  • using fewer resources;
  • increase customer service;
  • leverage the media to have more impact and reach other areas;
  • increase the value of the practice;
  • document the procedures; and
  • report.

Commercial activities

Whaley had tips for the use and application of technology to business functions.

Digitization. In digitization, said Whaley, each option has advantages and disadvantages, and its own deadlines. The superiority of one option over another depends on who has access to it and needs to have access to it, she said, as well as how it is updated.

Meetings. When holding virtual meetings, said Whaley, keep in mind that you may need equipment, internet access, and a virtual meeting platform. She also suggested looking at how the office’s compliance team handles rules regarding meetings and webinars.

Customers relationship. Electronic means of managing customer relationships have replaced the traditional Rolodex, Whaley said, and it has expanded beyond simply storing contact information on a phone. It is now a question of “really having information about each customer”. At the end of the day, she said, “It’s about building and maintaining a good relationship with customers. ”

Planning. Whaley called electronic planning a “must have”. She noted that some people are reluctant to adopt electronic means of planning because they want to stay in control. But she reassured participants: “Timing options don’t mean giving up control. ”

Project management. There are “very good apps” that will help with project management, Whaley said, and added that using them will help reduce confusion, especially when there are many steps in a particular function.

Electronic signatures. It’s “a big time saver,” Whaley said. She acknowledged that there are people who are reluctant to use electronic signatures, but highlighted their benefits, such as being able to sign a document when the time and place can make it difficult to do so in person. and cause delay. She added that they “solve the lack of access to fax machines”. Whaley added the caveat, however, that “cash transfers may still require ‘wet’ signatures.”

Costs

Adoption and application of the technology comes with a variety of costs, Whaley observed, such as those related to setup, subscriptions, app features, and upgrades.

And there are also the human costs. For example, she noted, new systems require training. “All new things take time to implement,” said Whaley, adding that teamwork requires procedures to be put into practice. Additionally, entering the data will require “some time on your part and that of your staff,” she said, adding that “there may also be some time on the part of the creator of the program.” .

The bottom line

You have to embrace technology, said Whaley, warning that if you don’t, “you will be in the dark ages.” Will a business grow without technology? “Of course it will,” she said, “but not as well.”

And there is a silver lining, Whaley said: The experience of the last year has shown how technology can help make contacts and build business.


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