Fure Financial is an independent, fee-based financial planning firm based in Minneapolis, MN. The company, founded in 1984, offers holistic investment advice to manage client assets with an eye toward fulfilling life goals, a successful strategy that has grown Fure—almost entirely by referrals—into the trusted advisor and wealth manager for 360 families. With its motto of “Keeping you on course… no matter which way the wind blows,” the firm has successfully navigated some choppy seas in recent years, thanks in part to implementing a Laserfiche enterprise content management (ECM) system to cut paper and storage costs; centralize information management from between its CRM, business records and archived client files; and, perhaps most importantly, to maintain its focus on clients. “Laserfiche has allowed us to spend less time managing our documents and more time working for our clients, which leads directly to higher client retention,” says Grant Meyer, Financial Consulting Assistant. “Since the majority of our business comes from referrals, excellent client service and client retention is a necessity for us.”
Implementing ahead of inclement weather
Meyer says the move toward ECM was a proactive one. “For us, it was the general idea that we could increase efficiency by saving time and money while continuing to improve client service that first got us interested in an ECM. Also, the disaster recovery aspect really attracted us.”
As both an advisor and the firm’s IT Manager, Meyer brought a unique perspective to the search for an ECM. “Naturally, being in the financial services industry, auditing, security and compliance were simply ‘must haves.’ After that, flexibility and scalability were important to us in an ECM—we wanted a system that could grow with us over time as our business evolved,” he says.
The firm looked at several ECM solutions, including cloud-based options, before deciding on Laserfiche. “Laserfiche was the most feature-rich of the solutions we looked at in terms of the comprehensive functionality it offered,” he recalls. “Quick Fields, Bar Code Plug-In, Zone OCR, Audit Trail, Workflow—these were all appealing because they either directly or indirectly addressed our ‘must haves,’” he says. At the same time, Meyer continues, Laserfiche would improve day-to-day operations. “We wanted to reduce costs, and we found from talking to other firms using Laserfiche and reading about the software that, first, Laserfiche saves time—employees spend less time searching for documents. Second, it saves on paper and printing costs; and third, it saves on storage costs of client files and other documents.”
Last, but not least, Meyer adds, Laserfiche is a name synonymous with ECM in the financial services industry. “Having a tried-and-true, trusted name in document management was important to us as well,” he says. “The system was already approved by our broker dealer, Commonwealth Financial Network, which was also a plus.”
Laserfiche’s impact was felt not long after implementation. “The savings in time and paper realized after just one quarter was significant,” Meyer recalls. “We used to scan a copy of each quarterly report to a PDF using a multi-function copy machine (MFP). Someone would have to manually rename and file each report. At that time, we also kept a duplicate copy on file. Using Quick Fields and the Bar Code Plug-In, we were able to scan all of our reports and have them renamed and filed instantly. We also eliminated the need to keep a physical copy.”
Soon, hundreds of client files dating back to 1985 were scanned into Laserfiche, eliminating the need for several bookshelves and filing cabinets. While Meyer admits it was “a paradigm shift” for some employees to move from a paper-based system to a paperless one, after they experienced how they could literally file things automatically and then find them instantly, they embraced the concept completely. The transition brought peace of mind—and cost savings.
“There’s a reassurance in knowing that all of our important documents are stored electronically and backed up off-site, ensuring access to the data even if something were to happen to our office,” Meyer says, adding, “employees now have the option of accessing documents remotely [over Fure’s secured network], so they can work from anywhere.”
A key component to true enterprise consolidation of the firm’s information was working with reseller Cities Digital to integrate Laserfiche with CRM solution Junxure. “Before Laserfiche, we used to have some digital files in the CRM, some paper documents in a large client file and some documents in different filing cabinets; it was very disjointed,” he recalls. “Now, with the two systems integrated, we have one centralized location for statements, account paperwork, estate plans, correspondence and all relevant material related to a client.”
Automating compliance with Workflow
In addition, Laserfiche Workflow automates several business processes—chief among them logging client letters for compliance review. “We no longer need to make copies, depend on a person to manually log each letter, compile all letters into a binder for review and signatures or fax the letters every week,” Meyer says of the familiar process. “We used to create three copies of every single client letter we sent out. Now, we simply scan one copy right at our MFP, which Laserfiche Import Agent OCRs and applies metadata to before moving it into Laserfiche.”
Then, Workflow renames the document and applies the correct metadata by referencing Fure’s Junxure SQL database. The document is then routed to the correct folders automatically, which a Fure senior advisor is then able to review and sign—all electronically. “Once the workflow is completed, it even e-mails the signed document to Commonwealth’s compliance department,” Meyer adds. “Import Agent and Workflow, with some custom scripts built by Cities Digital and an electronic signature pad, have taken that process completely paperless with one touch of the button on our MFP.”
Audit preparation has likewise benefitted from the centralization and automation—utilizing functionality as simple as a robust search and as comprehensive as Audit Trail. “Laserfiche allows us to pull the necessary documents together for an auditor extremely quickly instead of going through file cabinets,” Meyer says. “The security and auditing of documents is also important as we are able to prove the integrity of our documents; any activity or change with a document is right there.”
The Laserfiche advantage: weather-proofed is ‘future-proofed’
For a family-oriented firm like Fure, the little improvements add up as well. “We can train new hires much more quickly—the system is that intuitive. We’re not having to give tours of file drawers or a bank of cabinets anymore.”
Meyer says he can recommend Laserfiche on two levels: “From an IT standpoint, the program is very easy to administer, and the flexibility of Laserfiche and the highly customizable security options allowed me to tailor the program to fit our needs as far as setting up template fields, adding users and ensuring compliance,” he says. “From a user standpoint, Laserfiche allows our financial planning team to access client documents and pinpoint what we need, when we need it, which translates into more time spent with clients and generating revenue and less time on tracking things down. That’s the real benefit—the reclaimed time and effort.”
Still, for all the operational benefits he can identify, Meyer credits the long-term value of Laserfiche to fitting so well with the firm’s holistic business philosophy. “Having a powerful ECM system like Laserfiche allows our business to adjust to the changing environment that many small businesses in any industry face,” he says.
“The more agile and flexible your technology system can be, the more ‘future-proofed’ you can become,” Meyer adds. “While it’s very hard to predict exactly where compliance, government regulations, clients’ needs and technology will be in the future, Laserfiche allows us to prepare as much as possible. Staying on course, no matter which way the wind blows, means having to adapt as conditions change without compromising on the final destination.”