If you ask people what they think is the best solution to improve business efficiency, one of the top answers you are likely to hear is automating as many tasks as possible. While this is true in the broadest sense – for example, using software to handle everything from staff management to client management to day-to-day transactions – knowing when not to automate is of vital importance when optimising efficiency for businesses such as IFAs.

Four tips for optimising the efficiency of your IFA business

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1. Recognise when automation is counterproductive.

When valuing an IFA, assessing the potential of the business to generate cash flow is a key factor, according to David Mitchell, head of valuations at BDO LLP. Therefore, intangible assets such as customer relationships should be handled with care. Relationships where the customers feel that they are being treated like human beings are more likely to flourish. A hand-written Christmas card will do more for the relationship than a generic “Happy Holidays” email, for example, and a face-to-face meeting can be more effective than a telephone call.

2. Invest in your staff.

Delegating tasks to your staff frees up your own capacity and has the added advantage of building experience and career development for your team. Efficient delegation is a skill in itself, and it’s one that is worth learning. Investing time to train staff either within your company or through formal training will improve efficiency in the long run.

3. Find a good back office system that can handle your company’s needs.

According to independent financial adviser Alan Moran, the efficiency and profitability of your business depends on how much integration your back office system can handle. Back office systems for IFAs, such as those detailed on the Intelliflo website can take care of a wide range of automated tasks, allowing more time to deliver a valued, personalised service to clients.

4. Increase your presence through the power of social media.

Social media allows for a greater opportunity for connections, which can help increase the chance of referrals, networking and business deals. All of this goes towards improving the efficiency of your business. Make sure you make your presence count.

By automating time-consuming tasks that are invisible to clients, IFAs can improve efficiency by concentrating on the areas where they will add the most value.