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Concept Dive: Services

If you’ve seen our Key Concepts slidedeck, you’ll know a little about services already. We take service tracking pretty seriously in PractiFI, because we find most wealth businesses don’t do it very well. Here we take a quick dive to explain what services are all about in PractiFI and why we think they’ll be great for your practice.

What’s a service?

A service is simply a piece of work that your business provides for a customer and earns revenue for. The revenue may be a fixed amount invoiced to the client, or a fixed fee received through an investment you implement for the client, or a series of periodic instalments, or commission-based.

What benefits do services give me?

Heaps! Here are just a few:

  • Services allow you to track revenue across your business divisions, split by customer, service group, service type (more on those below), team member and period.
  • Services allow you to track profitability by rolling up estimated and actual time worked and cost incurred from tasks and processes that relate to services.
  • Services help drive commercial thinking amongst your whole team. They ensure that all work done through tasks and processes is directed at a clear commercial outcome, both for your customer and your business.
  • And over time, we’ll make services even more awesome.
Do I have to use services in PractiFI?

As much as we highly recommend using services in PractiFI, they’re not mandatory. If you want to keep things super simple, you can manage customers, then simply manage processes and/or tasks directly against customer records. You can always introduce services later when you’re ready to take the plunge.

What are service groups and service types?

At the time of setting up PractiFI for your business, you’ll have configured your service offering into service groups and types. Service groups are the broad divisions in your business, and service types are the detailed service offerings within each division.

For example, a multi-discipline advice practice might set service groups and types like this:

 

Service GroupService Type
AdviceComprehensive Advice
AdviceLimited Advice
AdviceSingle Matter
AccountingTax Return
AccountingQuarterly Business Activity Statement
AccountingCompany Accounts
RiskLife Insurance Limited Advice
RiskPolicy Implementation
RiskGroup Life Scheme
RiskGroup Life Membership
MortgagesMortgages Limited Advice
MortgagesMortgage Implementation
SuperannuationSuper Limited Advice
SuperannuationSuper Implementation
SuperannuationCorp Super Employer Plan
SuperannuationCorp Super Membership

 

What’s the service stage?

If you’ve read our deep dive on clients and people, you’ll know a little about client stages. Service stages are very similar.

At the time of setting up PractiFI for your business, you’ll have agreed your service stages amongst all of the other configurable categories in the system (learn more on categories). You’ll update the service stage as the service progresses through its lifecycle. For example, a life insurance policy service might progress through stages such as Needs Analysis, Quotations, Application, Medicals, Underwriting and Completion. If you’re running standardised processes against the service, the service stage commonly refers to the current process that’s being undertaken.

Can we have one-off and repeat services?

Absolutely. Be sure to set your start and end dates accordingly. One off or transactional services will typically have a short duration of a matter of weeks. Repeat or retainer-style services will typically have a longer duration, often annual. If the service has no end date, you can leave it blank, although many practices choose to set an arbitrary annual period for the sake of clearer reporting.

How To: Create a Service

Overview

Services are where you’ll track the commercial business you do with your clients (once, of course, you’ve already created a client). For a broader overview of services in PractiFI, check out our deep dive. Here we explain how to create a service for a client. Ready?

How To?

Creating a new service for a client is easy. It starts, unsurprisingly, from the client record in question. Here’s how.

  1. Using the search box in the top nav bar, find the client in question (the Leonards Household in our case) and select it from the records returned.
  2. You’ll find yourself in the Client View for the Leonards Household. Click the thumbs-up icon in the side nav bar to get to the Services tab.

    Client View - Services Tab

    Client View – Services Tab

  3. From the Services tab, click the plus symbol to create a new service. The Add Service popup will appear.

    Client View - Add Service, Empty

    Client View – Add Service, Empty

  4. Complete the details for the new service:
    • Select the service type. The entries in this list will have been preconfigured for the service types offered by your practice. In this case, we’re creating a Comprehensive Advice service, which is part of the Advice service group.
    • Select the stage that the service is at (again, the entries here are preconfigured for your practice). In our case, this service is at the stage of Confirmed, meaning that it’s agreed with the client and ready to kick off.
    • Optionally, enter a short description for the service. This is a good place to enter any specifics for this service. Bear in mind that comprehensive file notes can be captured later, so there’s no need for excess detail here.
    • Select the owner of the service, the team member who is responsible for the successful fulfilment of the service. In a small practice, this is typically the same as the owner of the client. In multi-discipline practices, the service owner may be specific to the division or group in which the service type sits.
    • Select the start and end dates for the service. For transactional work, like this comprehensive advice example, these will denote the relatively short term nature of the service. For retainer services, you’ll typically specify an annual term, or some other fixed period.
    • Select the sale amount to be charged for the service, the applicability of sales tax to the service and the applicable tax rate.
    • Your new service should look a little like this.

      Client View - Add Service, Completed

      Client View – Add Service, Completed

    • If you just want to create this service for now, click Save and you’re all done. If you’re ready to go straight into starting a process for the service, click Save & Start a Process. (Clicking Cancel at any time will abort without creating a service at all.)