I was reminded this morning about something that is often pretty obvious to most people but seems to pass me by on occasion. The outcome you seek is not about the process, it is not about the tools, its about the result. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a process believer and of course having the right tools for the job is vital. However I am prone (as many of my peers also seem to be) of wishing that there was “one bit of kit” that enabled me to do my job fully. The reality of being a good financial planner (let alone a great one) is that this is still a pipe dream.

I have a lot of “kit” yes it doesn’t look terribly big or significant, because it resides mainly in cyberspace and on my computer. It would be nice to have a single application for client work, in theory this is achievable, but only in theory and assuming everyone (or enough people) want the same thing and work the same way – which of course is at best a temporary condition. I have a plethora of software and a fair amount of hardware – enough to make the moon landing look like a walk in the park. I need to accept that my various tools (which are invariably fairly expensive given the industry I operate in) are suitable at different times for different jobs and different aspects of the same piece of work.

So what happened this morning to remind me of this? well the local council has finally decided that our road is worthy of proper repair (delight to the local residents). We were only given at best 24 hours notice that the road would be closed and cars needed moving – not ideal for those working abroad or on holiday. Rather like a small boy I gaped at the various trucks, diggers, scrapers… all German of course! that came together as a team to each perform their task like a… well good orchestra may be stretching it, but it was pretty impressive. “So what will you do about the cars in your way?” I asked. “We’ll lift ’em out, photograph them and put them in another road… that skip too”… if only I could do that with some of the pension companies that I have to deal with. In essence, we have a tool for the job and will get things out of the way so that we can get it done. There were, as you might imagine a lot of blokes in fluorescent jackets each operating machinery and playing a part. No it hadn’t really occurred to me to properly observe this along the motorway in the days before Sat Nav and I set staring at lines of cones. It was a helpful reminder that the single tool to dig up and relay the road properly, does not currently exist… similarly, whilst I may have to combine software applications, reports, websites and so on, the job is the outcome and having the right tools is important, but knowing which one to use, when and how to orchestrate a team is where the effectiveness really shines.

If you are a client (or thinking of becoming one) you have to put up with a lot “bits” of information, requests for it and so on, I know this can feel a little frustrating… isn’t there just an easy way to create a financial plan? I can assure you that  what we ask for is necessary to get the job done to the best of our abilities. I can assure you that the end result is worth the effort, once it is neatly packaged and put into clear terms that make sense and above all, provides information to inform your decisions…we are, after all, laying a new road to your future.

Dominic Thomas – Solomons IFA