Some final issues to decide will include:
If you are branding your practice as a professional firm, will you make use of office space or will it be acceptable to work from home? Will your clients expect to visit your offices during the day, just like they would have to if they were visiting their accountant or solicitor, or will you spend time (which equals money and cost) travelling to see your clients? There is no right answer, but your decision will affect the overall branding of your business and the costs of the services you will be offering.
Back-office software is increasingly important due to the requirements for firms to share data with the regulator, networks or compliance services, and clients. But think how you will use it and how it integrates with other aspects of your service so that it is worth the investment of time and money, instead of being a burden that will constrain your business development as opposed to facilitating it. Will you be able to tailor workflows to how you work?
Many advisers still live without access to product-research software, risk-profiling tools and fund-research software. Monthly costs can seem high, but if you learn to use them effectively, and use them in association with effective business processes, you will save money in the long run.Don’t forget to remind your clients that you pay for access to this material so that you can provide them with the best and most up-to-date information, research and recommendations.
Clearly this element depends on whether financial planning is to be an important part of your advice proposition. However, the ability to get right to the heart of a client’s financial situation and to set that out simply – usually with graphics and occasionally with “stress testing” (or Monte Carlo simulation) – is not just a cost, it is also a key element of a business proposition for which your clients will pay you.