When it comes to documenting advice, we know that time and resource can be an issue.

As advisers and planners, as much of your time as possible should be dedicated to concentrating on your clients. Yet thanks to increased regulation, advisers can find that more of their day-to-day time in the business is taken up with administration rather than actual advising.

There are options that can help. Which route is best entirely depends on individual firms – there’s no point adopting a certain way of working only to find it doesn’t fit in with your current processes.

Some of the options open to you include:

  • Using report writing software
  • Creating and maintaining your own templates
  • Outsourcing templates to another company

Obviously, you don’t have to choose just one – you could mix and match.

Report writing software might suit you if what you need is standardisation. Partial automation of the process also offers the ability to quality control, as well as potentially improved outcomes from a compliance perspective.

It may be that you want a more bespoke approach, where you have more control over your branding and tone of voice, and a more complete fit with your internal processes.

Or you might prefer to hand over the creation and maintenance of fully tailored templates to an outsourcing partner.

Understanding the pros and cons

Using report software can certainly help with efficiency and reducing or avoiding errors.

But it may not leave a lot of room for more bespoke wording or branding – and may not give you the opportunity to write in your own words.

Creating your own templates can take up a lot of your time initially, unless you are given templates to work off by a third-party such as a network or compliance consultancy. That said, it can offer the opportunity to make them more personalised to your business, and can also be cost-effective.

If this is your preferred route, it’s worth being prepared in terms of what’s involved in creating and maintaining templates in-house.

Make sure you have the resources you need to keep your templates up to date and correct. It’s also worth considering whether you have the capability in-house for design and brand work, and whether you need to invest in the appropriate software.

With outsourcing templates, subject matter experts can keep documents up-to-date and refreshed as needed, with reports matching up with the rest of your client literature. With this route, you are of course subject to navigating another company’s timescales and processes, and ongoing costs may also be a factor.

Whatever route you decide to take, make sure it works for your firm. Templates are a definitely a help to firms, it’s more a question of which route is right for you.

There may be aspects of all these options that you can cherry-pick for your business which can then be fit together as part of one process.

It’s worth keeping the function and objectives of your reports in mind as you go through, with the ultimate aim that your reports continue to add value for clients.

Check out our template creation service here, or outsource your reports to our paraplanning team here.