The Importance of Knowledge Management in the Financial Industry
The financial industry and its customers are constantly evolving. Just think, online banking is a relatively new phenomenon. Yes, that means that there was a point where you had to actually physically walk into a bank to conduct any form of financial needs.
Nowadays everything is online and instant, and customers expect information within a matter of minutes. For banks, credit unions and other financial organisations knowledge management is key to operating efficiently as well as meeting customer needs. We caught up with Eoghan O Donovan – a chartered accountant and tax advisor with experience in Big 4 practice and industry.
Protecting sensitive data is part of the job
Those working in the financial industry have access to sensitive personal information in order to do their jobs. Ensuring this data stays private and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is a crucial part of their job.
“Having worked extensively in personal and payroll taxes, every day is spent working and protecting sensitive personal information. We aim to be a trusted advisor to all clients so a large portion of that trust is built on the understanding that a client's information is safe and secure at all times.”
Having an effective knowledge management system is more than just having documents at the touch of a button, it’s protection and processes for dealing with client data. “We not only seek to control how the information is protected when it is in our possession but we don't believe our duty of care ends there. The transfer of the sensitive information outside of the organisation is a huge risk and it is our responsibility to mitigate that risk as much as possible.”
“The 'wrong hands' issue is a very real problem and I have always worked on a 'need to know' basis when sharing and allowing access to our data rooms and folders - having an effective system is so important to ensure client and customer trust.”
File sharing with colleagues
"I’m constantly sharing documents all day, every day! Whether it's working on the same spreadsheets, reviewing memo's and tax returns we're always sharing files. That's never changed but what has changed is how we've shared them."
Gone are the days emailing a shared document as an attachment or editing a file with red font to highlight the changes. With effective knowledge management systems, Eoghan explains how collaboration with colleagues has digitally transformed and made every part of work a whole lot easier.
“Even in my short career so far how I've shared files has changed so much! Early on sharing via email and attachments was just the done-thing but now it's a last resort for sharing and that's after locking it down with all manner of passwords!! How quickly times change!”
Out with the old, and in with the new! Digital transformation and the importance of knowledge management in the financial industry has never been more important. “Now sharing is secure links to files and allowing access to a controlled data room. It shows how much organisations have come on in terms of security and attitude to risk.”
Sharing information securely from anywhere in the world has always been important in the financial industry with the potential of overseas clients. “It's crucial to how we work and now more than ever with the change in everyone's work location to WFH it's even more important. I've always worked on teams and sharing information is definitely dual purpose - it's you need this file, doc or sheet but it also drives how we communicate as a team.”
With that in mind, team members are often working on more than one client or customer file and finding information fast and easy helps ensure a successful CX. “Our roles are pivotal to the positive customer experience and a large portion of that is being able to quickly provide the correct information to clients.”
The CX is to build long term relationships
When working with such important accounts, clients trust financial teams with some of their most valuable assets. Providing the latest reliable and accurate information is key to successful and long-term relationships.
“For me I think it builds a lot of confidence in your advisor when they can have the right answer to hand quickly. I've had enough of those flustered moments searching folders and apologising for delays and stalling to know the effect on the customer experience.”
“Clients are becoming more aware of industry news and changes in their regulatory environment and are coming to you with more detailed and nuanced questions. They've come for that definitive answer and that requires utilising the most accurate, relevant information and allows you to feel like you can stand over the answer provided.”
Most of the financial industry is determined by regular regulatory data updates and therefore team members must be able to communicate and distribute this immediately with clients.
“This year is probably a record year in terms of client updates following changes in the business environment! I would have always been used to updates after the more regular events - federal budgets, legislative changes etc but I think this year is the rise of the ad-hoc update.”
“That leads to such uncertainty as businesses have so little time to process the full impact of these changes. That means we have not only process these changes but communicate it quickly and effectively.”
“The lead-in time for all of these updates and their changes has shortened so much like the update on Monday morning after a big announcement on the Sunday that leads to a change on a Wednesday.”
The importance of knowledge management in the financial industry is becoming more relevant with the impacts of Covid-19 and putting customer experience and care at the core of your business will help you retain clients.
“I think the good advisor is one that is eliminating the uncertainty (and the noise) with relevant, concise and accurate information. The quicker that we can get that information update out the better for easing that uncertainty.”