Evolving our technology systems

Reg Gabila joined Count Financial late last year from BT, where he worked for 15 years across a number of advice and technology roles. In a time of transition both for Count Financial and the industry, Reg will drive how Count firms manage their systems in response to the challenges they face.

This begins with understanding what potential changes can be made, to better service the Members.

“Listening skills are incredibly important in business, as well as remaining agile through the execution process as we operate in a dynamic operating environment.”

Reg has already instigated several initiatives based on feedback from Member firms, including solutions around double data entry, and inefficiencies in the client discovery process due to systems not integrating.

“By the end of March, our Count XPLAN site will be integrating with digital client engagement providers. The short-term aim is to provide as much choice for our Member firms on their preferred client engagement tools. Later in the year, more changes can be expected around SoA and RoA efficiencies, a digital fact-find, and addressing upcoming annual renewal legislation,” explains Reg.

The biggest challenge in the current operating environment is the lack of time for advisers to identify how to best use the technology solutions available to them. The disruptions in the industry – including new education standards, compliance and legislative change – mean no-one has time to think forward.

“I’ve seen firms whose revenue is high but only utilising 10% of the available technology. This model is not sustainable, as there is no efficiency or capacity long term. Staff burnout risk is high in these firms. We are here to help create a long-term sustainable business model,” says Reg.

Three key components

To successfully deliver technology solutions requires more than just the best available tech.

“Earlier in my career, I delivered a tech rollout that was a failure because users did not know how to use the new features, and they did not know which problems we were trying to solve,” Reg says. “And so, take-up was minimal. I was too focused on the technology components – it was a crucial lesson for me around the need to engage key stakeholders and take them on a journey. I now know that implementing successful business solutions requires three components to work harmoniously: technology, process, and people.”

To make sure people remain at the centre of technology decision-making, proposed initiatives are workshopped with the Count Advisory Council and once initiatives go live, there are regular communications and updates about technology through Count Weekly and the 100-day plan updates.

“I find that providing Member firms with visibility and transparency on the progress made – good or bad – is a must,” Reg says.

If any Member firms wish to be more actively involved there are a number of options available to provide feedback: “The preferred options are to connect with your PDM or myself, Natalie or Nathan from the Licensee Systems team.”

Measuring success

Success is measured differently by everyone, but Reg has a clear guideline he lives by.

“For me, success is a progressive work/life integration and staying physically and mentally fit along the way,” he says.

Longer-term, Reg is giving much thought about how to open up the converged professional services space of accounting-led financial advice businesses that remain siloed and non-integrated.

“Do we extend the existing integration capabilities of each system to ensure they are better connected, or do we introduce a new enterprise CRM?” Reg says. “The focus for me right now is to undertake more due diligence on the business requirements of a true converged business.”

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