For business owners and individuals alike, financial consultants help to make sense of numbers and complex calculations. They’re crucial in helping us plan for our financial future and for ensuring that we know the value of the money we earn and eventually spend.
As you might imagine, financial consultants and advisors must handle a huge array of data and plan for colossal projects and targets. As such, it’s not unheard of for each day in the office to look a little different from the last.
However, there are several tasks and responsibilities that most financial consultants will handle daily. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most crucial daily jobs that financial advisors undertake.
As self-starting financial managers, consultants will need to handle various timetables and plans to ensure that their clients receive the best help and advice when they need it. Financial consultants and planners work with many different people from one day to another – which means that they need to think carefully about how to prioritize workloads and meetings.
Financial consultants also need to work with different specialists outside of their direct clients. They’ll need to work with legal professionals and bank representatives, for example, to ensure that they continue delivering products and compliant services to their clients.
Therefore, there’s never likely to be a ‘down period’ for the average financial consultant. They’ll need to plan timescales carefully with clients so that they don’t disappoint them, and so that they can keep in touch with professionals who might offer additional services.
Managing clients and building relationships
One of the first things that a consultant in a financial office will do each day is speak with clients. After looking at timetables and workloads for the day, the average financial advisor will spend time working with people to help deliver retirement plans, find investment products and make reassurances.
The most important part of the client-consultant relationship for the end customer isn’t the advice or the results observed but the building of trust.
Financial consultants will work closely with individuals and business owners to build a relationship on trust and insight. They’ll spend much of their time getting to know what their clients do and what they want to achieve, and exploring ways that they can help them plan ahead.
This means that financial advisors and consultants will work closely on developing custom approaches that fit their client profiles and aspirations.
When getting started in studying financial consultancy, you may be asking the question, what does a financial consultant do? Trainees will find that the simplest answer is helping people manage money. In fact, Spring Arbor University, which offers an online MBA degree, emphasizes the importance of the client-consultant relationship early on in modules.
Gathering and analyzing data
It stands to reason that much of a consultant’s day will revolve around finding answers to complex questions and queries, including developing plans and reports they can use to predict complex movements.
For example, a financial consultant might need to look closely at specific investment opportunities for clients and analyze the performance of stocks over years at a time. Doing so will help clients to make informed decisions on how to build portfolios.
Beyond this, business financial consultants will also closely analyze past performance and sales targets. This means handling a wide range of data from the past and looking closely at how customers behave based on precedents.
A financial consultant should always be ready to handle vast amounts of numbers and use graphs, lists and language that everyone can understand. Much of the daily work of a consultant is, ultimately, translating complex analysis into details that their clients can take and put into action in their daily lives.
Knowing where to gather this data from is, of course, part of the study and on-the-job training that a financial consultant will undergo on their way to running an office of their own.
Building investment strategies
As mentioned, investments and portfolio management make up a great deal of a financial consultant’s everyday work. They’ll typically help people look carefully into stock, ETF and index options that grow their money rather than let it sit idle.
However, consultants and advisors will need to do more than simply give advice to clients. The average consumer in the US is more savvy with finance than ever before, frequently managing portfolios via smartphones, using cash advance apps and even investing in non-fiat money through crypto exchanges.
Therefore, financial consultants will spend much of their working days with clients exploring avenues that are feasible for investment. For example, some clients may wish to charge into buying a specific stock but might not know the implications of purchasing and trading long term.
It’s the role of a consultant, daily, to guide business owners and individuals through potential portfolio tweaks and changes that could bring about the best returns. Ultimately, consultants must also be on regular standby for ad hoc advice.
Therefore, the best consultants will always have advice and options available for clients should they call and need help with portfolio planning at short notice.
Retirement and estate planning
For individuals, the world of retirement and estate planning can be complex. People across the US want to make the most of their retirement funds, which often means juggling a 401(k), a Roth IRA or other products. Where do they start when it comes to finding the best possible growth opportunities for their money?
Financial consultants are well-versed in retirement growth strategies. However, what works for one client may not work perfectly for another. Therefore, they will look carefully with their clients at specific goals that they have in mind.
For example, do they want to retire early, or are they happy to ‘cash out’ at a later date? Do they wish to tie up their retirement money in real estate assets, or do they prefer to have some liquidity for vacations and the like?
With regard to estate planning, money management toward the end of life always produces difficult conversations. It’s part of the daily work of a financial consultant to handle sensitive financial conversations and to help individuals understand how to set assets and liquid funds aside for their next of kin.
Planning to this extent can also come into play in business. For example, some corporate financial planners might need to help draft succession plans should the CEO of an organization pass away. This, in many cases, will require insight from legal teams.
Crucially, this all amounts to consultants and advisors needing to be ready to discuss highly sensitive matters with people who might not always be open to such conversations. As always, for the end customer, trust in this type of relationship is absolutely vital. It’s the job of the advisor to ensure that their clients are comfortable and ready to discuss advice provided.
Educating and empowering clients
Whether in business or on private contracts, financial consultations allow people to understand the value of money and how they use it. While we all try to make the most of the money we make each day, it’s not always easy to make it last.
Therefore, advisors and consultants work hard daily to help people understand the positive repercussions of careful money management. They also work to help clients understand negative financial behavior and how to modify plans for the best long-term results.
Even those clients running businesses that make significant profits each year might feel less than confident about how to plan for their finances – in which case, a consultant should always be ready to back them up when making decisions that are typically complex or require specialist advice.
In many cases, financial advisors and consultants are business owners’ only allies when it comes to making specific decisions about money forecasting and allocation. Therefore, consultants will need to work with various different businesses each day across different industries, and prepare to handle varying data volumes to translate.
At the same time, empowering clients about money isn’t always easy, especially if they struggle to work with numbers. Therefore, advisors are educators as much as they are supporters.
No two days are ever going to be the same
The fact that every day working in financial consultancy is always going to be a little different is part of the appeal for many people. Consultancy and advice career paths are extremely rewarding for those with mathematical and financial minds, and even more so for those who want to actively help people make the most of their money and planning.
That said, education is a must. Anyone aiming to become a financial consultant should take the time to register and enroll at a leading university or college who can provide the full scope of an MBA, whether online or offline. Of course, for those not working directly with businesses, there will be further education opportunities for training directly to support individuals and families.
As an outsider, it is not always easy to see and appreciate the hard work that financial consultants put into their client portfolios. However, as you can see from the above, each day provides exciting new challenges!