Financial reporting is a tough play. We get it. You, as the financial advisor, are required to provide reports that are insightful, beautiful, and that deliver a clear message. That’s a tall order. If that weren’t enough, your client is judging YOU on this. They have seen reports that they think delivers the message that they want to see (Thank you, Pinterest), and now you have been tasked to deliver.
The good news is that it is doable. Now the next question…how? Time to do some homework.
Here are a few questions to get your thoughts rolling.
- What features do you need?
- What features do you WANT?
- Which solution should you afford?
- How often do you send reports?
- How many clients do you have?
- What do you want to avoid?
- What things are missing from your current approach?
Let’s look at a typical scenario. A financial advisor is asked by their client to provide a report that keeps them up to date on the comings and goings of the business.
The advisor thinks, “I’m not sure what that even means! “Comings and goings?”
Translation: The client doesn’t know what they want specifically, but what they do know is they don’t feel like they have their fingers on the pulse of their own business. They may feel like they are operating on bank-balance accounting. This situation is frustrating to them, so it leads them to make the ambiguous request of you. They are pouring their life and soul into their business yet feel like a first-grader when it comes to numbers. They are coming to you in need.
Let’s go over some “Do’s and Don’ts” to minimize your homework time and provide the client with the answers they don’t even know they want or need.
Easy to generate reports –That’s the entire point. Creating reports quickly and efficiently is crucial to reducing your problems. A pre-built report should take no longer than a few minutes. In Reach Reporting, you can create reports in a couple of mouse clicks. Even more of a time-saver is the built-in Library; you can save a report you love and use it for all your clients. Make sure that the software is saving you time as well as enhancing your value.
Customizable information – Any reporting software should have both pre-built templates and the ability to create your report templates. Look for a cutting-edge report builder where you can add or remove all the different KPI’s you want in whatever layout you prefer.
Dashboards – Yes, reporting is impressive, but there should also be a dashboard. The dashboard is the place to head for easy to read, up to date data. It’s where you or the client can see the overall financial health of the company. Each company you have synced in Reach will have a customizable dashboard filled with the information most relevant to that company. The dashboard is the ideal place to spot trends early on for your customers.
Templates – Priming the pump is not easy. It’s a challenge to look at a blank canvas and come up with an end product that is simple enough, beautiful enough, informative enough, and doesn’t take you six months to build. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a graphic designer. Taking that off my plate saves me a ton of unnecessary stress. Reach reporting has an entire design team to take the guesswork out of creating a beautiful report.
Customer service – No one wants to call customer service, but sometimes it becomes necessary. Make sure the customer service is available, knowledgeable, and has a listening ear. Is it a phone number to call? Or email or chat? Fingers crossed this doesn’t become a sticking point, but take the time to research and see what each option offers.
Full-access free-trial – Check it out before buying. A free trial is a game changer! A full access trial is even better. Dive deep into what it can and can’t do before handing over your credit card. Test it out, sync your QuickBooks, run reports, create a dashboard. Reach offers a 14-day free trial with no Credit Card required. The free trial is for the FULL software, with no limited use.
Feel comfortable in the software – Is it user-friendly? If something is going to make your day run smoother, it has to be easy to use and understand; otherwise, it isn’t beneficial. Is a tutorial available to learn how it works?
Make sure it is easy to connect to the right software, whether that is QuickBooks or Xero. Let’s be real here if getting the data into the software takes a Ph.D. in computer science; chances are you are not going to use the software. It has to make your life easier, not harder. Connecting should be streamlined and done in a few simple steps.
Cookie-cutter reports – I know we all love cookies, but in this case, the cookie-cutter report is not going to cut it. You want to stand out from your competitors! So don’t create the same report everyone else creates. The ability to add your customer’s logo, background images, and other design features is what will grab the attention of your clients and make your business invaluable to them. ReachReporting has countless ways to customize the reports you provide to make you stand out from the crowd.
Overpay- Ugh, that feeling you get when you realize you dramatically overpaid for something! No one likes to waste money; it is frustrating and a little embarrassing. When comparing prices look at more than just the price but also what are you getting for that price? Look for value. Look to get the most for your hard-earned money. Reach Reporting has different price packages so you can get precisely what you need without overpaying. See our pricing page.
Assume all the same – You know what happens when you assume, right? ‘Let’s avoid the assumption all financial reporting software is the same. Yes, they may have some similar features, but they are not all created equal. Go back to your questions from the beginning of the post. Find the software that will best answer the questions you have and the needs you need to meet. On this same note, if you have a specific request you need to fill, is the company willing to listen? Ready to help you figure it out or even create that feature for you? Reach Reporting loves to hear your needs! Tell us what features you are looking for, and we will do our best to make sure you find them.
Settle for a few options – A financial reporting software should do more than what its name suggests. Reports are great, but look for a software that does so much more! Like we talked about, find a software that offers excellent value! ReachReporting does so much more than create beautiful reports (which it does very well!). It goes beyond that; it can organize and present financial information in an easy to understand, easy to read format for your customers.
Remember, decisions are easier to make when we have the information we need. Knowledge is power. Financial reporting is essential, so go out there, do your research, ask questions, and find what works best for you and make your decision. If you have any questions about Reach Reporting, head over to our home page, and let’s chat!