Concept Dive: Clients & People

As you may have seen in our Key Concepts slide deck, the concepts of clients and people are pretty critical in PractiFI. Here we take a deeper dive to explain why PractiFI handles clients and people a little differently to other systems you’ve used. We like to think it’ll all be second nature to you in no time.

What’s a client?

In PractiFI, a client is simply an entity with whom you’ll do business in your practice. Commonly, the client will be a household, often comprising a primary contact person, their partner and perhaps some dependant children. Or it may be a business client, comprising directors or staff that you deal with. Or it may be an individual person. Whatever the type of entity, they’re all clients and they’re all represented with the heart icon, because you love your clients, eh?

What makes household clients different in PractiFI?

Many wealth management CRMs don’t treat the family or household as a client, only the individuals within it. For example, if you deal with Mr John Elliott and Ms Jean Elliott in one household, many systems will store those as two clients. Further, if you also record details of their children Rose and James, you can end up with four supposed “clients” in your system.

In PractiFI, we see the household unit as your client, because you’re often aiming to manage a broad range of the family’s financial matters spanning several family members over an extended time. Thinking again of the previous example, PractiFI sees the Elliott Household as one client, comprising Mr John Elliott as the primary contact person, Ms Jean Elliott as the partner and Rose and James as dependant children. One client household, four client people.

Can people be part of multiple clients?

They certainly can. In fact, there’s great flexibility in separating households from individuals, and that flexibility makes for better CRM.

For example, let’s say Ms Jean Elliott (from the Elliott Household client above) is so enamoured with your practice’s services that she asks you for financial advice for the software company of which she’s a board member, Smart Systems Ltd. You’ll create Smart Systems Ltd as a business client of the practice, then add Jean as the primary contact at that client (using the Add Existing Person option, under the Client People section). Jean is thus a client person within the Elliott Household and also a client person (specifically the primary contact) at Smart Systems Ltd.

In many other systems, you’d have to create two records for Jean to achieve this, which is obviously crappy. Plus, in PractiFI, you can see Jean’s client relationships clearly under the Relationships tab in her PersonView page and get a real sense of just how important she is to your practice. We think this makes a whole lot more sense.

How do I create a client?

It’s really easy. Take a look at our quick guide on creating household clients and you’ll be an expert in no time.

How do I find my clients in PractiFI?

Easy. Here are two simple ways.

  1. Search for any client using the search box in the top nav bar. Just start typing the name of the client and the list will filter down as you type. Then just click to select and PractiFI will take you straight through to the ClientView for that client.

    PractiFI - Top Nav Search
    PractiFI – Top Nav Search
  2. From the PracticeView, select the Clients tab in the side nav bar (using the heart icon that we learnt before). You’ll find a table of the clients in your practice. You can then filter the table using the filters above, applying them separately or in tandem to refine your filter. You can sort the table using the arrow icons next to the field names. You can also search within the table using the search box above. (It’s worth noting that filters and search work together so that you can get very specific. If no records are returned, try removing a filter or removing the search term you’ve entered.)

    Practice View - Client Tab, Client Table
    Practice View – Client Tab, Client Table
Who’s the client owner?

The client owner is the team member in your practice who has overall responsibility for the satisfaction of the client and the success of the relationship. In some practices, this may be the principal or adviser who is the main professional the client relies upon. In other practices, it may be a client service representative or the practice manager. In most practices, it’s a handy way to separate clients into broad areas of responsibility.

In very large practices or wealth institutions, client ownership can be used to control data sharing, where the team is set up with a role hierarchy and access to client information is restricted based on each team member’s role and the ownership of each client. Feel free to give us a shout if you’d like more info on this.

What are client stages?

At the time of setting up PractiFI for your practice, you’ll have agreed your client stages amongst all of the other configurable categories in the system (learn more on categories). They are the stages your client moves through as you manage them over the course of your business relationship with them. A couple of examples:

  • A pure financial advice firm might manage its clients through typical stages in the advice process, such as Prospect, Initial Meeting, Needs Analysis, Advice Preparation, Strategy Presentation, Implementation, Review and Inactive.
  • A multi-discipline wealth firm offering financial advice, mortgage broking and life insurance might manage its client stages at a summary level, such as Prospect, Client, Advocate and Inactive. This works because multi-discipline firms typically track their more detailed stages on the services that are performed within each discipline. (Learn more on services and services stages.)
What are client segments?

Like stages, client segments are a configurable category and offer another way to make a distinction between the various clients in your practice. Segments typically symbolise the lifetime value of the client relationship to the practice. You can keep your segments really simple, such as A, B, C and D. Or you might opt for Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Whatever the terms you use, segments should have a clear and agreed meaning amongst your team members, so that when you (for example) want to send an event invitation to your Platinum clients, you’re inviting exactly who you intend to.