An advisor’s guide to the best financial planning software

Choosing financial planning software isn’t an easy task for the financial advisor. Although there are various options available, there is no one single product that reigns supreme. The key aspect is to select software that best suits the needs of the advisor and their clients, so weighing up the different features and functions is paramount before making any decisions.

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Goals-based versus cash-flow based

One of the first aspects an advisor will need to think about when choosing financial advisor software is whether they want a goals-based system or a cash-flow based system. Goals-based software captures financial data that projects whether a specific goal will be achieved, while cash-flow based software accounts for every source of household income to match total outflows. Cash-flow based software requires more inputting and data collection, so may prove more time-consuming, but may suit those advisors seeking a thorough analysis.

According to the Wealth Advisor, the lines between goals-based and cash-flow based software are becoming blurred, as many types of software now offer elements of both approaches.

Model projection

When choosing the best financial advisor software, such as from, advisors will also need to decide how they want it to model the projections. This could be on a straight-line basis or using a Monte Carlo analysis, but could also include what-if scenarios.

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Ease of use and collaboration

Increasingly, collaborating with clients when using financial software is becoming the norm for many advisors, so choosing software that enables this is often a key feature to consider. Ease of use and inputting of data is important to the advisor, but the client’s needs and uses should also take centre stage. You may wish to consider using software with a dashboard for clients, so they can have personal input into managing their finances.

Some software will take longer than others to master, and often this depends on how complex the technology is and what you want to achieve from it. Bear this in mind when deciding which software to choose, particularly if you don’t want to spend too much time on the learning and training process.

Additional modules

Think about the needs of your customers and what they want from the financial planning process. If they have wide financial planning requirements, including insurance and savings, the software you choose may need additional modules to cover these.

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