Processes, processes, where art thou?
Posted on 8th July 2020 at 12:01
Author: Arah Perrett, Business Consultant
I have spent more than 30 years working within financial services. My career started as a cashier and since then has spanned many roles including Telemarketing Manager, Financial Adviser, Bank Manager and Development Consultant. During that time, I have worked with owners of financial planning practices who typically have many concerns that they must address. Some are out of their control; the Covid 19 virus is certainly an example of that. However, one problem that is very common is also eminently fixable - the lack of a clear and defined work flow process within the business.
The lack of replicable processes creates a whole range of issues within businesses. It:
Adversely impacts on efficiency
Increases the administrative workload
Steals time away from being with clients
Makes training new staff more difficult
Contributes to burnout.
It is almost always linked to having back office systems that are no longer fit for purpose.
The Fidelity Fund Network point out that 'back office administration and business efficiency are an expressed top business challenge for one third (32%) of advisers'.
Businesses tend to grow organically from inception and bits of process are bolted on along the way. Process drift is almost inevitable unless this area is reviewed on a wholesale basis at regular intervals. Many businesses don’t do that, which is why this issue is so prevalent.
What are the benefits of effective work flow processes?
There are huge benefits for firms in defining, documenting and enhancing work flow processes. Here are just a few examples:
Better client service - identified systems are predictable and so will provide more consistent service to clients
Better productivity - once systems bed in and the team are trained, the business can do more in less time, possibly with fewer people
Better audit trails - evidencing that regulatory requirements are being met is much more straightforward
Better morale – is there anything more enervating than constantly fire-fighting in a barely in control working environment?
Peace of mind can't be overstated. Working with antiquated systems that don't deliver is a major source of stress in some businesses.
Ideas for better work flow
Here are some things that firms can do to improve efficiency within their business.
Start by asking questions:
What do we do? Why do we do it? How do we do it How do we improve?
It is not unusual to find that firms have fallen into the habit of doing things that add virtually no value to the business.
Having an efficient and repeatable workflow increases the flexibility of the business and puts it in the best place to deal with external turbulence. It can also be a daunting task. Getting help from an external consultant can be a cost and time effective way forward as it adds objectivity, perspective and expertise. Like it or not, many businesses have been forced to pause. While the business environment at the moment is really challenging, it is also an opportunity for re–invention.
Thank you for reading this! I hope you have found it helpful. Please get in touch on 01452 489 942 if you would like any other information.
Tagged as: Work place processes
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