How to balance rising back office costs with a profitable practice

By Ryan Smith on May 8, 2018

Balance is key to a healthy office.

As any business grows, so does its back office costs. If you decided not to employ administration and support personnel, you’d find it impossible to keep abreast of settlements, clearances, regulatory compliance, accounting, IT functions and record maintenance.

However, these costs can easily hit a “revenue ceiling” when your back office spending does not generate increasing profit.

Balancing Cost Against Return

What can you do to avoid hitting this “revenue ceiling”? The simple answer is to implement a profitable practice. Basically, this means increasing back office efficiency and productivity rather than headcount.

Technology can help your office improve efficiency. One useful tool you should consider is customer relationship management (CRM) software.  Used effectively, a CRM is a one-stop hub that can help your team do many things. Whether it’s sharing useful customer data between departments, managing appointments or your company social media, it can mean a huge boost to your company’s productivity.

Pick Appropriate Tech

If you rely on financial adviser leads, then be careful not to add to your costs by investing in CRM software that cannot share data.

Typing the same information in manually time after time risks increased fees for added work and rising error rates.

Communication is Key

Additionally, don’t neglect the benefits of effective communication with both staff and clients.

Best-selling business guru Tony Alessandra has identified four social styles that staff tend to embody. Each person will typify one style more predominantly that the three others.

Teams consist of:

  • Drivers, who can solve problems quickly and find a path forward
  • Expressives, who can articulate work problems vividly
  • Analyticals, who can pinpoint how problems arise
  • Amiables, who promote team cohesion and a congenial workplace atmosphere

Using Social Styles in the Office

People of differing styles do not communicate equally well with one another. Drivers seem to match best with Amiables, for example, while Expressives match best with Analyticals.

Matching these social styles within your team, and adopting the communication styles that Alessandra has charted (e.g., by tailoring your style to be more analytical when you’re talking to an expressive team member or client), can help make for a more efficient and profitable practice without increasing back-office costs.

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