Michael Kitces: Is our financial planning software improving our productivity or destroying it?

Mon 30 Jan 2012

We really enjoyed reading this post by US financial planner, Michael Kitces, in which he asks whether increasingly complex financial planning software is:

  1. Consuming more of a financial adviser's time than is desirable en route to the generation of a client's financial plan?; and
  2. Deterring clients, who would like to work on the creation of their financial plan with their adviser, because the software appears so impenetrably complicated to the untrained eye?

Our own view is no secret because we've posed the question before about 'Who is financial services technology for?'.

We've also talked about the irony that financial planning technology awards appear to measure the quality of technology by the number of features packed into it, rather than the usefulness or ease with which those features can be used (see: 'We're one year old today and are proud to have failed to win a single award').

But we particularly like Michael's point about software being designed so it's easily used by clients and advisers alike.

We won't pretend that we set out to design Moneyscope to be used by our users' clients (because we didn't) but it seems that Moneyscope users aren't afraid to let their clients loose on Moneyscope on their laptop, iPad or tablet during meetings anyway - like this example or this one.

And, like Michael, we think that this can only be a good thing for both clients and advisers.

After all, the ability of software to enable clients and advisers to work collaboratively on lifetime cashflow forecasts must, surely, contribute to a greater sense of partnership and common purpose?

Just imagine if all financial planning software was designed so it was intuitively easy to use, regardless of whether you're an adviser or a client working alongside an adviser - that's bound to lead to software which aids adviser productivity isn't it?

January 2012