You can’t manage what you can’t measure, this has been one of our key messages ever since we launched Business Health in 2000. And while a lot has happened since then, this message hasn’t changed – it simply makes good business sense in our view to know your key metrics, track them over time and to know how you compare in the marketplace.

So, in an effort to contribute we thought we’d share with you our latest analysis of the key financial data provided by 300+ Australian practices – in a series of communications over the next couple of months. Hopefully, these will help you to paint a picture of your business – pretty or not. And, armed with this knowledge, we hope you’ll gain some insight and a few pointers towards a stronger, more sustainable practice. (<<Click here to receive a consolidated pdf copy of all communications – to be issued in December>>)

The following are marketplace averages. Factors such as the practice’s business model, development phase, size and location will impact your practice’s numbers.


Practice Management by the Numbers 2: Clients per adviser

Marketplace average: number of clients per adviser = 421

This metric allows you to gauge your productivity and, in turn, your staffing and service levels. While current thinking suggests that the maximum number of clients an adviser can effectively manage is around 100, we believe that this is very much dependent on the specifics of your offer and business model.

If your number is higher
What’s driving this? It could be that your practice is being efficiently managed through the effective use of technology, having the right people doing the right jobs, and being supported by a strong ‘people management’ program. All leading to satisfied, motivated staff, working efficiently towards a shared set of goals. No duplication or wasted efforts! In which case – nice work!

But sometimes this metric can prove to be a double-edged sword. Make sure that tasks aren’t falling between the cracks and the work that needs to be done is actually happening. Red lights to pay special attention to:

  • Client complaints and general levels of satisfaction
  • Mistakes are being made
  • Staff morale
  • Compliance audits

If your number is lower
Perhaps it’s because your business model requires you to deliver a higher touch, technical or specialist service to your clients who have a complex set of needs. In which case, serving a smaller number of clients needn’t be of concern as long as you’re doing it profitably. However, if this doesn’t apply to you, then you need to ask why you are operating below the benchmark of your colleagues:

  • Is there a capability or skilling issue in play?
  • Perhaps the adviser is spending too much time on non advisory type work?
  • If other tasks are diverting the adviser’s attention, you will need to understand the reasons why – these will range from personal preference (‘I actually like doing the admin’), through to lack of resources and possibly inefficient systems and processes.

The bottom line
The greatest strength can sometimes also lead to a significant weakness. Building and maintaining meaningful relationships takes time, effort and is invariably valued by clients, however the effort required can also divert the adviser’s attention and energy away from the other tasks they should be focussing on. Balance is required.

If you’d like to discuss in a little more detail and discover how your own business stacks up (and what you can perhaps do as a result), let us know <<click here>>.

Yours in best practice,

The team at Business Health.