One of the most important parts of building your financial planning business is figuring out how to incorporate tools that will improve productivity and efficiency. There are thousands of tools out there: software programs and apps that can handle anything from specific tasks to your entire business. How do you know which ones are best?
Honestly, trial-and-error is often the best way to decide. That doesn’t mean that you need to try every financial planning software out there, but you might want to take a look at a few of the most popular options before picking one. Same with online meeting software. Zoom got us through the pandemic (and it remains my favorite video chat platform), but that doesn’t mean it’s the only choice.
Even if you decide to try out just a few options for each of the tools you need, the number of choices out there can be overwhelming. So today, I’m taking you through my personal favorites – the tools I use every day in my financial planning firm. Use this list as a starting point, and then choose the options that work best for you.
Financial Planning Tools
These are the programs and apps I use for the actual financial planning work I do with my clients:
- eMoney: Financial planning software with an excellent client portal. This program is optimized for financial planning based on cash flow and facilitates easy collaboration with your clients during sessions.
- Holistiplan: The main software program I use for tax reviews. It can scan tax returns and create customized tax reports for clients. You can also use it to develop different financial planning scenarios and see how those changes would affect taxes.
- Portfolio Visualizer: An online software program that makes it easy to compare investments and analyze my clients’ portfolios. It helps me guide my clients so they can make well-informed decisions about investments.
- Schwab/TD Ameritrade: Offers several different options for making trades and investments, including web-based, mobile, and desktop platforms. I use these tools to follow investment news, analyze strategies, and monitor the market for my clients.
Organizational and Administrative Tools
A big part of running a financial planning firm is behind-the-scenes work. You need to organize your schedule, keep track of each client’s details, and make sure you have a system to track tasks for you and your team members. Here are my favorite tools to make this administrative work easier:
- RedTail: A cloud-based CRM solution for financial advisors. It integrates with many other tools (including eMoney) and offers lots of automation options.
- Box: Secure document storage solution. It also makes offers easy sharing and collaboration tools for team members and clients.
- Calendly: An easy-to-use automated scheduling tool for client meetings. It integrates with Google Calendar, Zoom, Stripe, and several other tools.
- Asana: For project/task management and communication with my employees. Allows me to see and manage projects on every level, from big-picture plans to individual tasks.
- Airtable: What I use for content planning and management. The program includes several automation options and integrates with Slack, Google Drive, Hootsuite, and Box.
When you’re choosing tools that you’ll use together with other team members, be sure to look for options that work on multiple platforms, devices, and operating systems.
Communication is another vital part of having a successful financial planning firm. You need to be able to communicate with your clients over the phone, email, video chat, and/or in person. It’s also essential to have reliable ways to talk with your colleagues and team members. Here are the communication programs and apps I use:
Obviously, there is some crossover between administrative and communication tools. For example, I can collaborate with team members on projects within Asana. And Calendly sets up meetings in my Zoom calendar. Choosing tools that integrate well together provides additional efficiency and value.
Improve Your Workflow With the Right Tools
Whether you’re a self-employed financial planner or the head of a large firm, running a business takes a lot of time and effort. By incorporating the right tools, you can reduce the amount of time you spend managing your business and also improve your clients’ experience.
There are countless tools for investing, financial planning, scheduling, managing projects, and communicating. Everyone has unique needs and preferences, so the right tools for me might not be perfect for you. Spend the time to try out a few options, and once you find what works best for you, stick with it.
What are your favorite financial planning tools, apps, or programs? Let me know in the comments!
Want to see some of these financial planning tools in action? Join Amplified Planning CORE, our training intensive. This unique experience lets you view real planning sessions with expert financial professionals and their clients. It’s a great way to see how to incorporate apps and tools into your own practice. Find out more about this innovative training option to see whether it’s right for you.