As the developer of financial planning software, I find the most common reason financial advisers reach out for information is when they have a problem with their current software. They will have an unusual situation and find they can’t resolve the problem with their current software.
I was talking with such an adviser this week, and I was pleasantly surprised to be told that for him, my software could answer the questions he wanted to be solved, when several other cash flow modelling programs could not.
This got me thinking there may be more people in this situation and it may be time to consider alternatives to their current software.
Changing software is something we all resist
I personally find myself resisting change to new software.
For over 30 years I had been using the charting package Metastock for the management of my share portfolio. While I had a similar charting package in my Stock Doctor, I continued to use Metastock because I resisted the need to learn the new and good system in Stock Doctor. I used Stock Doctor primarily to do my company research on their financials.
The critical point came when my data provider ceased operation and I needed to update my current version of Metastock. So, I took the plunge and spent a few hours, mastering the Stock Doctor Charting.
Now I am perfectly comfortable with the new system and I have saved myself several thousand dollars paying for two software packages that will deliver the same results. In fact, I now find Stock Doctor is much better at keeping my files updated.
Exploring uncommon situations financial planning software
One thing I have been doing, in the Financial Mappers, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), is to give examples of how to resolve unusual situations. The section is called Building Unique Scenarios.
These are some scenarios I have explored at the request of our clients.
- Loan Offset Account to pay for school fees
- Starting an SMSF to purchase real estate
- Buying land for a Property Development and then completing the development over several years
- Transferring UK Pensions to Australia
- Working with clients in New Zealand who have a KiwiSaver account.
Does your software provider listen to your requests for new updates?
As I speak with advisers, I listen carefully to what they need in software that is not provided elsewhere. Generally, I find the solutions are quite simple and can be uploaded in a matter of days. These can be as simple as changing the percentage of employer contributions from the Government regulated percentages to a different value, say 15.6%.
I recently had an accountant explain that he prefers to walk his clients through his recommendations using a table of Cash Flows over different time periods rather than using graphs. As a result, we have now updated the software to include a Cash Flow Summary. This has also been complemented with a similar process for Assets and Liabilities.
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Please reach out if you have unanswered questions about your current software.
Glenis Phillips SF FIN – Designer of Financial Mappers