Your ability to serve the best interest of your clients greatly depends on the amount of time you have to spend engaging with them and managing their accounts. The regulatory obligations for financial advisors, however, have become increasingly complex in recent years. While compliance is critical, you also want to make sure it does not become too burdensome and time-consuming for you and your staff. When it comes to recording your interactions with clients, there are a variety of options available today, including transcription services. When shopping for the best solution to meet your needs, you’ll want to keep the following seven key considerations in mind.

1. Ensure you can easily comply with the regulations. To remain in adherence with the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest (BI), you must be able to document why you made any recommendation to a client with a clear explanation of how the portfolio changes you suggested serve their needs. That rationale must be easily retrievable by the SEC, in the event of an audit, by your compliance department and any supervisors on your team, and by the client, if they request it. To meet those requirements, you’ll need a system that enables you to quickly and easily record your recommendations after each client meeting, phone call or any other type of exchange.

2. Make sure your system is convenient and easy to use. Writing or typing notes after client meetings isn’t always practical, and hard copies of client notes can be difficult and time-consuming to retrieve. Services that enable you to dictate your thoughts about what your clients’ needs were and how you addressed them will be faster and easier to use. They can also ensure that you have a complete and easily retrievable record of your decision-making.

3. Find a procedure that will work with your other systems. If your firm or office has a CRM (customer-relationship management) system or other fintech application, you’ll want to make sure that your process for recording information from client meetings and conversations fully integrates with that system.

4. Ensure the information is recorded in an organized and easily retrievable way. The topics covered in your conversations with clients are often far-ranging. You may need to retrieve specific information, such as recommendations you made regarding their retirement plan. A system that helps you record the conversations and your decisions in an organized way and by topic will be much more efficient for you whenever a specific subject of discussion needs to be reviewed. Having a template for what items should be covered with each record of a client interaction can enhance the thoroughness of your documentation and also serve as a training tool for any less experienced advisors in your practice.

5. Put a premium on accuracy. You’ll need to make sure your thoughts are recorded exactly as you made them. While automated transcription services have become popular in recent years, they are not yet as accurate as human transcribers. Live transcribers, particularly when you offer specific instructions, can tell the difference between a client whose last name is “Whyte” vs. “White.” Obtaining that level of accuracy will help you avoid the risks of having a record of your conversation with Mrs. White moved into your system with the records for a Mr. White. Having a service that gets all the details, big and small, right will be an effective safeguard against such risks.

6. Ensure the highest standards of security are met. Your notes about clients contain highly sensitive personal and financial details. You’ll want to be sure that information is handled with the utmost security to protect the privacy of your clients and safeguard them and you from any of the various ways that information could be misused. A service that uses encrypted mails, does not store recordings or notes for long periods on its own servers, and has its staff work under tight security restrictions will help ensure that required level of privacy.

7. Work with a partner who understands your business. Today, vendors offer a range of tech products for financial advisors. Experts in technology can design powerful systems, but you’ll also want a partner who has significant experience with advisory practices. With that background, they can thoroughly understand and sometimes even anticipate the challenges you need to address.

The Best Solution Should Enhance Your Efforts
Like any good service, the best option to help you document your client interactions will make your life simpler and enhance the important work you do in helping clients.

Maree Moscati is CEO of Copytalk.