Beyond the Numbers Blog

Ad-hoc Reports: The Crowning Differentiator

Posted on December 20th, 2018

Technology in our everyday lives provides instant access to nearly everything. It has raised the bar on expectations. We’ve become spoiled with voice-activated personal assistants like Siri and Alexa that can answer questions and do simple tasks without us having to move a finger, with applications that offer remote, on-demand access to various home systems such as heating and lights, and with other similar technologies. We’re used to being in control and getting the information we want when and how we want it.

So it’s not surprising when clients expect immediate turnaround on a new reporting request. Quickly delivering standard reports, however, is not the issue. The challenge is being able to generate high-quality, customized ad hoc reports and to do so quickly, efficiently and with minimal cost.

It’s all about service

Gone are the days where scheduled, one-size-fits-all investment and partnership accounting reports were enough to keep your clients happy. Being able to cater to on-the-fly requests from clients and the UHNWIs in a family office goes a long way toward enhancing overall customer experience. And in the notoriously competitive asset management sector, client experience/client service can be a significant differentiator. As noted in KPMG’s Spotlight on the Asset Management Industry report, “Price, performance and product innovation are no longer where the source of advantage lies. Those that survive will be those who consistently deliver superior experiences.”

The industry has clearly changed. Regulators are more demanding. Investments are increasingly complicated. Fees continue to be under siege. And clients are more sophisticated. There is a greater emphasis on transparency and “explainable investing,” especially concerning hard-to-value assets. Different constituents – end-user clients, family members, investors, senior management, auditors, regulators, etc. – each have different needs and expectations that can change on a dime.

Reporting can no longer be an afterthought. Reports must adapt to changing times and expectations – with information sliced, diced and presented in a timely manner and with only the data that is relevant to that client’s needs. While mediocre client reporting is unlikely to sink a firm that has solid returns, the ability to deliver timely, intelligent, ad hoc reports will certainly sharpen your competitive edge.

Are you ready?

Unfortunately, many firms and family offices are ill-equipped to meet the need for custom, ad-hoc reports. It’s not that these reports can’t be created. They can. But if your firm is highly dependent on spreadsheets or has an inflexible system that requires a vendor to make programming changes, it’s more a question of how quickly and at what cost ad hoc reports can be generated.

Preparing ad hoc reports should not be a herculean task that requires programming skills, several days of work or a job ticket to your software vendor at a significant cost. If you can’t meet your clients’ needs for a bespoke report quickly and efficiently, you may want to reassess your accounting solution.

FundCount software lets you create, format, customize and deliver ad hoc reports right from your desktop – in minutes. No programming skills necessary. Graphs, charts and other visuals can be embedded in the reports to analyze performance, compare to a benchmark, review asset allocation, visualize portfolio risk and reduce complexity by making results easier to understand. Drill-down capabilities provide additional details for clients that like to understand the numbers behind a report while consolidated, look-through accounting information can easily be grouped by entities, family members, investments or portfolios according to the data views needed.

The next step

Ongoing competition, pressure on fees and the expectations of clients will take its toll on firms that don’t amp up their reporting capabilities to handle ad hoc requests efficiently and cost effectively. Remember, client experience matters. Make sure you can deliver. FundCount can help. Contact us for more information on how our flexible reporting can have you producing customized on-the-fly partnership and investment reports in minutes.