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The Back-Office System and Procedures – back office systems for financial advisers

The Back-Office System & Procedures

The Back-Office System & Procedures

Bringing in clients (New Business) seems to be the most exciting thing there is, right? That’s why there are so many marketing agencies popping up. Content strategy, copywriting, ads… they all are sexy.

Doing the work is not as fun, but that’s how you get paid — so you give it a pass.

But the Back-Office is not generally thought of as sexy. It’s a crucial component if you want to take your business to seven plus figures.
What does Back-Office include?
This system manages every foundational element that is needed to run a business — other than your New Business and Production teams.
I’m talking about things such as legal, HR, rent, administrative and operational support, etc.
Anything that is essentially non-billable and doesn’t directly contribute to your revenue is what I would leave under back-office.
Effectively Managing The Back-Office.
Something that I really try to make emphasis on throughout my content is that every system is comprised of people, processes, and tools. And the Back-Office is no exception.
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In the beginning, for many companies, one or two people were in charge of every single aspect of this system (in all systems, really). They are the ones signing contracts, sending invoices, finding contractors, hiring employees, etc.
They think that they are working on the business. But, over time, things got more complex. They can’t do everything anymore, so they have to start hiring other people and delegating. They need processes and procedures to be the “go to” document to explain what to do when they are not there. It goes without saying, but people are a HUGE determinant factor of your success.
You can help your people by setting up a process that optimised their efforts and minimises costs. But someone has to design that process. It can either be you or someone from your management team — but it has to be done.
If you can document step by step the actions of your legal and hiring processes, for example, the business becomes less “You-dependent”.
How will you generate candidates when there’s an available position at your company? Who will contact them? How many rounds of interviews will they have to go through? Who are the final decision-makers?
It may seems like you are wasting a couple of hours to get that on a piece of paper. However, trust me: you’ll realise how much quicker and sustainable you can scale and grow after you have every system documented in detail. Note: having clearly defined guidelines will also help you make less emotional decisions.
Think of tools as any apps, software, and other tech or old-school solutions that make your life easier.
I’m sure you are already using them in some way: to improve the communication within your team, to onboard employees, to create invoices, etc.
Automation will help you reduce the number of people your company needs to operate. It can even fully eliminate repetitive tasks from your daily to-do list.
A couple of examples:
You could send contracts through DocuSign to your new clients so that you can get that out of the way much faster. And you could automate sending the onboarding material as soon as they sign. Have a recurrent invoice sent at the end of every month. Obviously much easier, faster, and cheaper, right?
Understanding the Real Cost of Your Back-Office:
As I said before, the business owner/CEO– will usually manage the whole Back-Office system in the early days. That’s totally normal, but, as you grow, things will change. You’ll have more clients, you’ll expand your business, and you’ll need more employees to fill that need.
But beware to not run into this issue:
  1. As you scale up, your back-office will also scale up.
  2. And you don’t want to underestimate how much it’s going to cost you.
Yes, in the very beginning, it will only take time and effort — but not money. Which, obviously, is still a huge expense. But what happens when instead of sending one invoice, you need to send 10? Or you have to hire not one individual, but two or more? You can only service a certain amount of business areas while maintaining your quality standards.  
Of course, when you have someone in charge of that, these costs have to now be factored into the equation. I’ve seen plenty of business owners that they didn’t plan for this and guess what happened?
Their profit margins got screwed up and they realised they weren’t charging enough.
Just as a reminder, this goes like this: revenue – cost to produce everything – everything else.
Well, everything else will naturally increase over time as your business grows. You’ll want to reduce it as much as you can through automation, processes, and high-performing people, but it will happen.
As long as you’re not just throwing unnecessary bodies and it comes from a place of growth, the back-office is a price that you should be willing and capable to assume. Just make sure you account for it and doesn’t come as a scary surprise.
The Back-Office System Summary:
  • The Back-Office System includes anything that is essentially non-billable and doesn’t directly contribute to your revenue. I.e. legal, HR, rent, administration, and operational support.
  • As you grow, you’ll need to find people to take over every element in the system. Use the leverage from well-designed processes and tools to increase your output efficiency.
  • There’s a real cost of managing the Back-Office, especially as you scale. Make sure you factor it into your prices and profit targets.

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This guide is only an aide memoire and intended for information only for anyone appraising the documentation needed in an audit/compliance check. It is not to be considered as direct advice or intended to replace specific 1 to 1 engagement with your compliance and risk professional.
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