Have you ever looked up from your work, glanced at the clock to astonishingly find that it is already 5:00 pm? In that moment, you can’t help but wonder, “Where has the day gone?” It feels like you were just debriefing from your 10:00 am meeting and now another day is coming to a close.
Whether you are preparing for an annual committee meeting, meeting with wholesalers or responding to RFPs, monitoring how you spend your time is important. Which is why, actively practicing your time management skills during the working day is crucial to the productivity and health of your retirement plan practice.
Believe it or not, effectively tracking your time leads to generating more revenue for your firm. Think about it like this: You have contracted 12 hours per quarter dedicated to ABC Company from backend plan administration to committee meetings. However, if a client is requesting more of your time and you’re not tracking your billable hours – how will you be compensated? By monitoring how much time is allotted to your clients, you maximize the monetary value of your time.
Prioritizing time management of your daily tasks helps you improve efficiency of your to-do’s and open more time for activities that will help generate more revenue. Most daily tasks can be categorized into two categories: Revenue Generating and Day-to-Day Vitals.
Revenue generating tasks are anything that brings in retirement plan advisory fees, commissions, and/or consulting dollars, such as:
- Prospect meetings/scheduled conference calls
- Marketing campaigns
- Strategic planning initiatives (link here)
- Client meetings
- Finalist presentations
Day to Day Vitals
Day-to-day vitals are the daily activities that are necessary to be a professional retirement plan advisor, such as:
- Servicing client plans
- Generating reports
- Learning about service provider offerings and investment options
- Continuing educating about financial markets, regulatory changes, and relevant retirement plan news
Advisor vs. Staff – Does it Matter?
Sure does. Think of it this way. Even the most professional member of your staff may not have the experience and insight of you as an Advisor. Should their time be worth the same was yours? “Professional” time is always worth more. Business owners understand that. Consider tracking time spent on “Vitals” based on your time vs. your team’s time, it could create additional insight into both your practice and client by client profitability.
Value Your Time
You’ve heard the phrase time is money; the old adage it true! Your time is a large part of the value you provide to clients, which is why time monitoring is so crucial. Here are a few activities advisors should regularly track:
- Monitoring/Searching for Investment Options
- Evaluating Plan Service Providers
- Benchmarking a Plan
- Conducing an RFI or RFP
- Supporting Service Provider Transitions
- Reviewing Plan Features
- Meeting with Committee
- Providing Daily Plan Management Support
- Taking Participant Calls and Emails
- Providing Education Meetings (group and one-on-one’s)
- Supporting Participant Education Programs
How to Make Time Tracking a Revenue Generating Task
Leveraging technology is one way to increase productivity and streamline internal efficiencies. For example, FBi offers a tool called Meetings & Hours Tracker that will track how much time is being allocated to clients because we feel that advisors should be compensated appropriately. Remember, your time is VALUABLE. Larger, more complex or needy retirement plan clients most likely require more of your time. Therefore, managing your billable hours will allow you to be fairly compensated.
It is Worth the Extra Effort
As a retirement plan expert, effectively tracking your time helps you better understand your business, profitability per client, and can lead to additional revenue generation. Invest the time and you will be rewarded.
Matt Golda CFA, Senior Vice President, Technology and Operations
Matt is responsible for the overall product development efforts of the firm. In addition, Matt oversees all technology and operations issues including the development and execution of the FBi portal and the FBi reports.