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6 Reasons RIA Owners Need Document Management (compliance isn’t one of them)

Worldox GX4Have you ever walked into a store like IKEA pressed for time? No matter how well organized the store may be, it can be an overwhelming experience to shop there, navigating the maze, trying to ignore everything else that is vying for your attention. In fact, if you can’t find what you need right away, you may leave irritated and empty handed.

In today’s business environment, navigating IKEA is like navigating your folder tree, searching for information that is nested in endless folders within folders within folders.

In our last post, we discussed why RIA operations teams need document management; now, let's look at the reason RIA owners need it.

Q: Is your firm like IKEA - organized, yet inefficient?   If so, how would you know?

A: If your operations team can easily locate information, yet it’s time consuming for other members of your team, that’s a sign your firm is organized and not efficient.

Whether organized or not, everyone can agree folders are inefficient. Given today’s modern technology, does it make any sense to rely exclusively on folders to retrieve information? If Google can help you find lyrics to a song from your childhood, is there any reason anyone your firm can’t find any piece of information with pinpoint accuracy? The answer is a resounding “no.”

If your business is still using a folder tree to manage files, you might not realize how hard you are really working.  Let’s dive in!

Here are the top reasons RIA owners need document management:

Hiring into an inefficient environment cuts you off from making a more strategic hire.

Adding to your client service team is a traditional way of improving service; yet, savvier entrepreneurs take a different approach. Imagine your team when you are fully staffed. Then, given that some of your systems are out of date, ask yourself this question, “Is hiring people the best use of my resources?” The point is, even fully staffed, you won’t gain the productivity you seek.

Savvy firms hire technology ahead of people so they can bring new hires into efficient systems. The next time you are faced with hiring technology or hiring a person, try hiring technology instead; but not just any technology. Go for technology that increases everyone’s productivity, not just a fraction of the team.

Ask for the ROI numbers from technology providers. Compare the ROI of setting up Worldox GX4 or a similar product for your team as compared to bringing on any new hire. You’ll be pretty impressed. Once you knock down the key inefficiencies like something as widely and daily used as recordkeeping in your practice, if you still need that new hire, go for it… but guess what you’ll find instead?

When you hire technology before people that means you’ll end up hiring for a different person than you originally planned. Why is that? Due to dramatic increases in productivity from hiring technology first, you’ll be much more likely to pursue a strategic hire like a planner or a paraplanner instead of a purely administrative role. That’s a big deal and a bigger deal than you may realize because of the following point.

Change your strategy, unleash your team.

Having sat at a roundtable of RIA business owners recently, I noticed their top complaint was that their teams did not have enough time to focus on strategic initiatives. Every owner said the same thing: “No one has enough time.”

As a business owner, if your team increasingly eats lunch at their desk because they have too many urgent items on their list to accomplish during a work day, that’s on you.

How do you move your team from working in the Stephen Covey urgent quadrant and stressed to important and engaged?


Technology is an employee benefit.

Many younger employees tell us they view technology as important as either a pay increase or recognition for a job well done. To them, technology is an employee benefit. Without modernizing your technology, you run the risk of stagnating in terms of attracting high quality talent, or worse, losing highly trained employees to more tech savvy firms who can lure them away. Either way, don’t wait to find out. Start the process to modernize now. 

  • What are some of the technology litmus tests for younger employees?
  • Is your firm still using a Windows directory?
  • Does your firm have a client portal?
  • Does your firm do paper-based meetings with clients?
  • Does your firm use cloud based software?
  • What are the opportunities to work out of the office?
  • How much automation is in place? 

Think about your firm from the eyes of a prospective employee who does all their banking and bill paying from their phone. 

Then, think about what system you could modernize that has the biggest impact on both your back office and client-facing work.

For example, think about client meetings. Imagine putting one of your client service team members in charge of the client meeting experience. Imagine what they would do with that! Chances are, they will move your firm to electronic meetings. Chances are, document management will be an important tool to make that happen seamlessly.

Control data leakage

When we ask IT administrators what their top concerns are, “data leakage” is high on the list along with cybersecurity. Data leakage means when data leaves your practice and finds its way into other storage devices or services beyond your awareness or control. 

As employees increasingly using file sharing services for work flexibility and to access information on the go, managing client records securely is an important aspect of maintaining your clients’ trust.  

When an employee leaves your practice, are any of your client files in their Dropbox account?

As a business owner managing sensitive information, you want a centralized way of securely managing all of your client and practice management records that still provides the flexibility your employees seek.

10x Growth

Many growing firms are envisioning what their needs look like operationally to handle triple or 10x growth. The systems and processes that got you where you are today are not the systems and processes that will get you to the next level.

Incremental improvement won’t cut it. Instead of making minor improvements with a minor budget, you need to make big leaps.  

That means don’t self-fund. By that I do not mean in terms of cash, but in terms of knowledge and expertise. You are entering a new world — find technology partners who know what they are doing in their area of expertise, have a super track record, and hire them.

It’s what you expect your clients to do. You deserve no less. Frankly, you don’t have the time.

Your team needs practice management recordkeeping to be as efficient as client recordkeeping

When we ask RIA operations teams what they struggle with most, they nearly always express they are as frustrated when it comes to locating practice management files (marketing, HR, operations, and compliance data) as they are with client records. 

Specifically, employees wonder if the information they are accessing is the most current version. In some cases, they end up creating new content because they don’t know the information they want already exists somewhere out there in the noodle forest of folders. Recreating resources that already exist is a double whammy, a waste of valuable assets and time.

The Solution

Using Trumpet’s designed Worldox GX4 system for RIAs allows you to find any file any way you want.  Never again wonder where something is. Just get it instead.

Bottom line, the ROI from implementing document management before hiring is a game changer. When you modernize with document management, not only will your team be more productive, you’ll be so pleased with the outcome, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it years sooner.

Contact us today to learn more or download our whitepaper on Document Management for RIAs. 


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Jo Day

Jo Day

Jo loves learning about interesting problems and how people are solving them. Jo is well known for connecting people and ideas and is a great catalyst (moo!) to change. Where some people see the world through rose colored glasses, Jo sees the world through processes. When Jo isn't hanging out with her family, Jo's favorite hobbies are being anywhere outdoors and coming up with new business ideas – just for fun!