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Financial services software refers to a broad range of digital solutions designed to assist in managing daily operations of financial institutions. Modern financial services software can manage and organize ledgers, portfolios, and customer and business accounts as well as assist in financial planning.
These solutions cater to the diverse needs of the financial services sector, which includes insurance, banking, and wealth management, among others. Almost all monetary transactions are executed digitally, and financial services software helps organize those transactions across a number of departments.
The right financial services software can help a financial service company generate new opportunities, maximize current relationships, streamline day-to-day operations, and ensure regulatory compliance. This guide will serve as a roadmap for your buying journey.
In addition to offering essential features like accounting and bookkeeping, new tools have emerged in the last few years that automate advanced analysis processes like forecasting and financial modeling.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning features can generate detailed financial reports, data visualizations, and data-driven insights, empowering businesses to optimize their financial strategies.
Another helpful tool included in many financial services solutions is built-in compliance management — an essential feature in a regulatory landscape that grows in complexity over time. Compliance management features help businesses navigate this landscape and mitigate risk.
There are numerous different solutions any given firm can choose to implement. Most fall somewhere on the continuum between best-of-breed (software that excels or specializes in a specific function) and integrated product suite (designed to serve as an end-to-end solution across the entire business).
Your needs will be largely determined by the types of proprietary systems you already have in place, the scale of implementation (single branch, regional network, global enterprise) and your specific vertical, whether it be banking, insurance, investing, stock brokerage, or even accountancy.
Some of the most common types of software used by financial service companies include CRM, marketing automation, and business intelligence.
Financial services customer relationship management (CRM) software helps financial service companies build new relationships and increase the value of current clients through sales and marketing tools, data-driven contact management, and automation of workflows. Solutions built for the industry provide unique customizations for a given vertical and generally provide closer integration with financial accounts, such as investment funds, lines of credit, and deposit accounts.
Because of its top-to-bottom utility and focus on client relationships, CRM software is a staple product for many financial firms. CRMs have direct applications for call centers, branches, mobile agents, and even virtual/online services. They can be tailored to a specific firm through custom fields and programmable workflows for onboarding accounts, modeling portfolios, processing claims, completing know-your-customer (KYC) verifications, and more. Many solutions also offer self-service portals, where customers can monitor and maintain their personal accounts, saving valuable time that might have been spent on the phone.
Common features of CRM software include:
CRM and marketing automation are closely related. In fact, some might say that one is incomplete without the other, at least from a strategic standpoint. Marketing automation platforms are designed to automate relationships and communications across a variety of digital media, including email, social networks, landing pages, display ads, and even mobile applications. These marketing campaigns generate qualified leads which can be added to a CRM sales pipeline and (hopefully) converted into customers.
Think of it this way: marketing automation helps financial service firms attract and capture interest in their products, then passes the torch to CRM for account onboarding and relationship management. In an industry where competition is steep and product portfolios are strikingly similar, meaningful engagement through marketing campaigns could be the variable that sets your firm ahead of the pack.
Common features of financial services marketing automation software include:
Business intelligence software typically hooks into an existing system — such as a CRM, marketing automation system, or even an ERP — and uses analytical tools to transform raw data into actionable insights affecting a number of key business areas, including sales strategies, customer retention, employee performance, and campaign analysis. BI tools excel at identifying larger trends in your client base or workforce, but they can also work on a more granular level. For instance, you can monitor financial accounts to find upsell and cross-sell opportunities, or to spot signals of flight risk (like a funds transfer to another institution).
Common features of business intelligence software include:
Depending on the vendor you choose, the software we’ve looked at so far can provide fairly comprehensive functionality and enough integrations to handle most aspects of financial services management. But some firms (especially those with large networks of offices, even global reach) may prefer a truly all-in-one solution — something that can handle every aspect of the business from tedious back-office tasks to enterprise planning tools.
Some of these firms may decide to shop for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which usually covers CRM, human resources, financial management, procurement, business intelligence, global business management, and other functions, depending on the provider.
Another approach is to work with an industry mega vendor (like Oracle or IBM) to create a custom financial services system from the ground up. These larger vendors often have access to networks of partner developers that can build software on an existing platform to meet the specific needs of your brand, operations, and business model. The obvious advantage of this approach is that you get exactly what you need, but custom solutions are very cost intensive and can take several months or longer to roll-out, for which reason many businesses decide to work with pre-built solutions.
Features and advantages of custom enterprise financial services software include: