What’s the right technology for your financial planning practice? In a recent AICPA podcast, I interviewed an expert panel of CPA financial plannersfor advice. Some offer tax compliance and investment management, while others do not. To learn more about their practices, check out this podcast.
Michael Goodman, CPA/PFS, WealthStream Advisors
What are the essential software programs for a tax and planning advisory business?
Jean-Luc Bourdon, CPA/PFS, Lucent Wealth Planning:
Brooke Salvini, CPA/PFS, Salvini Financial Planning:
Susan Tillery, CPA/PFS, Paraklete Financial:
Michael Goodman, CPA/PFS, WealthStream Advisors:
Do these software packages all talk to each other?
Jean-Luc: The more they talk to each other, the less duplication of input, so it is important to engineer them to fit together. My CRM package, Redtail, imports emails from clients into an email file so I don’t have to scour Outlook for them. My portfolio management software, Orion, imports data from client portfolios to their financial plan in MoneyGuidePro.
How can you determine what package is right for you?
Jean-Luc: Find a peer group, identify participants whose practices are like your own, then see what works for them. The AICPA PFP Section has a wonderful community of planners you can join. Also, many financial planning software providers allow you to try their product free for two weeks. Input your own plan and see how it works.
Brooke: One important question to consider: Are you going to work with clients virtually or in an office in person? If you want to work with clients around the country or be more mobile, that will have a big impact on how you should structure your technology.
Susan: Remember, too, that switching software can be a huge undertaking for a firm like ours that is so dependent on it. Our transition went well but was very time-consuming. Previously, we had developed our own state-of-the-art document storage vault; but we realized it would cost too much to maintain it at the level eMoney offered. Our clients are thrilled with the new software, which keeps all their information stored in one place.
Michael: Before you buy an additional package, go deep into your existing software to see if it already has the capabilities you need. Contact the company’s tech support, explain how you use the software and ask for best practices they’ve seen in practices similar to yours. Many people don’t take advantage of everything their software has to offer. Get more out of what you’re paying for before you spend money on additional software.
Ted Sarenski, CPA/PFS, President & CEO, Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC. Ted chairs the AICPA’s Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference Committee and Financial Literacy Commission, in addition to chairing the AICPA Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee’s Elder Planning Task Force.
Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 21, 2019 in Guest Blogger, Personal Financial Planning
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