If you are an adviser who has typically stayed away from cashflow management for clients, right now might be an opportune time to familiarise yourself with how myprosperity can be used to help your clients manage their money.
Our resident trainer, Karen Karouz, recently provided a training webinar to partners on how to use the cashflow and reporting tools in the portal, and it’s definitely worth a look. You can check it out here.
The cashflow tool is supported by great functionality including the generation of reports that can either focus on just cashflow or be included as part of an overall picture of a client’s wealth. Karen begins the webinar with an overview of how to customise report covers so that they’re relevant and distinguishable to your business. She suggests Canva as a good way to resize images for your report covers, as the system displays a recommended image size for upload. Once configured, and it is super easy to do, all reports to clients will have the desired customisation.
Setting up categories
The next important step is to set up “categories”, and if you are an accountant at heart, this is the equivalent of the chart of accounts in the context of personal finances. The “manage categories” feature was a key update made to the cashflow function a few years ago, which has made the task of creating custom expenses and income categories simple and powerful. Advisers can set up group headers and specific categories within those headers to help tag transactions to desired categories. And this can be completed using a simple drag and drop function. As an example, Karen shows how you can create a “rental expenses” header and group all relevant expenses underneath it to ensure all costs associated with a rental property are captured over any given period. The great news is, these categories can be set up at the practice level by the adviser and any new clients added will automatically have these categories available within their client portal. Clients can also create their own categories, so the flexibility to configure to the personal needs of your client base exists in the both portals, whether they are actively engaged in the system or want your to help sort things out for them.
Next, Karen highlights the “settings” feature in the client portal to make it nice and easy for you to filter out the “noise” in account transactions including duplicate transactions, hidden transactions, mortgage payments, transfers, etc. This is the number one query from advisers and clients when it comes to cashflow configuration. By default, the client portal is configured to remove these distractions and keep the expenses and income reporting clean, but it is up to the individual and the detail they want included. The bottom-line is, this is all customisable but it starts with knowing what you want and selecting your preferences accordingly. Rest assured, you can always go back and change it if it’s not quite right the first time around.
Setting up bank feeds
Going back into cashflow, it is important to have all bank accounts and credit cards linked in myprosperity. The setup of live data feeds is very simple and secure via the Yodlee service, and by default it will grab the last 90 days of transactions and load into the system. Note that some financial institutions enable the past 365 days of transactions to be pulled through. This is great if you want to track a client’s tax related income and expenses from the beginning of a financial year, but don’t worry if the transactions imported won’t go back to the beginning of the financial year, you have the ability to upload a CSV file to plug any missing months. Remember, you will need to have the client on a Pro subscription if you want to get the daily transaction feeds, otherwise they can upload manually via CSV.
Next, you want to establish rules to automatically tag transactions as they come into the portal from the various bank accounts. If you’ve used Xero and are familiar with setting up bank rules to automatically categorise transactions then it’s the same concept here. Simply “create a rule”, and when you change the category against one specific transaction, the changes will be applied to all past and future transactions across all bank accounts. Pretty soon you will have all your expense and income categories showing you exactly where money is coming from and where it is going – the starting point for better managing your money. Did we mention setting and tracking budgets? Perhaps that’s a topic for a future webinar.
The last piece covered is how to generate reports from the system for the client. This is where the magic happens. Previously, if you’ve tried to help clients with cashflow using manual uploads or spreadsheets, the time taken to generate reports would have been onerous and simply not worth the effort. With myprosperity you are using up to date transaction data and since you have configured all the categories, the reports generated will use the latest information, so there is no manual data entry needed.
Well, that’s it in a nutshell, so why not give it a shot? We hope the training webinar is helpful in getting your clients setup with simple and powerful features that will help them better manage their money.