The Problem You Can’t Do Without - Business Management for Financial Advisers

Obviously, this tongue-in-cheek saga is meant to make a point. It’s very hard for many who run small businesses not to take things personally. In movies and books, business owners are ruthless and tightfisted. In reality, business owners have feelings of insecurity, emotional peaks and valleys, and tremendous anxiety because they have so much at stake.

It’s hard to make constructive, logical decisions when you witness behavior that puts your business at risk. Owners and managers of advisory firms the world over may recognize this epiphany. Most of the entrepreneurs don’t start in business because they dream of being a business owner. They start because they have some technical skill and the business is kind of a necessary evil for making money with that skill. In fact, the business evolves naturally, until it becomes a complex, living organism.

The same is true in the advisory industry and in the evolution of most advisory firms. In Moss Adams’s first study for the Financial Planning Association on staffing and compensation within financial advisory firms, we asked the participating firms what their top ten challenges were. Five of them had to do with human capital:

  1. Time management
  2. Efficiency
  3. Capacity
  4. Hiring staff
  5. Managing growth

Intentionally or not, most financial advisor firms grow their business to a point where they need additional staff. The challenge of the advisor is to find and keep up good people. The symptoms of a firm that lacks a coherent plan for selecting, managing and rewarding their staff is that the firm does not have quality staff, time management, efficiency , growth, and the capacity to serve clients.

A whole science has evolved to study the issues of managing and developing staff. Financial-advisory firms are like little test labs, where common problems and solutions occur daily. The evolution of your human-capital strategy will take time, but the investment will produce returns well beyond what you could accomplish alone. And once constructed and implemented, it will fulfill you as an entrepreneur.


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