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 4: Support staff per adviser

Marketplace average: 1.1:1

This metric brings into focus the practice’s operating model and the interaction between the adviser and support staff. Who is responsible (and accountable) for what?

If your ratio is higher
Is it due to the intrinsic nature of your offer (complex, technical or high touch for example), in which case it warrants a higher number of support staff? Or perhaps there is a focus on specialist skill and development. Either way, no problem.

But if this isn’t your situation:

  • Are your systems and processes delivering the efficiencies you’re looking for (and others are achieving)?
  • Is there a clear enough understanding and appreciation of the role of each person in your practice? Are responsibilities and accountabilities understood, agreed and being adhered to by each staff member? How is this covered when new staff come onboard?
  • Could there possibly be a productivity or capability issue with some of your people (including advisers)? Are they fully trained up and supported with all the tools they need to serve their clients?

If your ratio is lower
This could point to an efficiently run practice, which has perhaps successfully integrated technology into its operations. Or maybe the staff are very experienced and extremely capable at their job. Either way – a good place to be!

But if this isn’t you:

  • Are your staff having to work too many extra hours to keep up with the workload?
  • Is the adviser perhaps doing some of the admin work that would normally fall to a staff member (not necessarily the best use of the adviser’s time)?
  • Are admin tasks taking time away from the adviser’s all important client facing activities?
  • Are there some tasks which aren’t actually being effectively attended to because everyone is too busy (being busy)?

The bottom line
This is a key ratio which will help your practice get closer to its optimal performance level. Clearly defined roles, objectives and expectations, supported by regular communication all have important roles to play.

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.