InvestmentNews takes advisers through the developments and innovations in technology that’ll change the way you do business today—and tomorrow.

Apr 10, 2014

Computers and complexity

By Sheryl Rowling

Computers are great. They are ubiquitous, affecting everything we do. They allow us to be more efficient, to multitask, to handle more complexity. I still can't decide whether or not that's a good thing. I spent Sunday preparing tax returns and extensions. The tax laws are so complicated, so different from when I first started. You see, I'm old enough to remember filling out tax forms by hand. When I needed a break from thinking, I would write the taxpayer's name and Social Security number at the top of each page. When personal computers first came out, we could actually calculate depreciation for multitudes of assets using a cool spreadsheet program: VisiCalc. (We had time for lunch waiting for the software to calculate!) With this handy tool, we now had the ability to determine if the midyear or quarterly depreciation method would be more tax-advantageous. True, the computer enabled us to save our clients money, but it also added... Read full post

Apr 3, 2014

Measuring your digital presence

By Blane Warrene

Gauging the value of your online presence, in particular efforts around a web site, social networking and blogging, can be a moving target. One of the top questions heard regularly is “How do I know if this is working for me?” The answer lies in large part in analytics.Measuring your digital presence is easier than it has ever been. The ability to review statistics and engagement data as a result of your online activity can be accomplished quite economically. Before we consider the platforms available, let's think through the structure of establishing a digital presence.Like your office (or headquarters) in the analog world, the digital presence requires a hub from which to operate. Logically this is the web site. From the web site, a blog can anchor content publishing, which will naturally progress to e-mail campaigning and ultimately to the social media channels you are using.To achieve optimal analytics, it is essential... Read full post

Apr 1, 2014

Technology: Bundled, best of breed, or both?

By Sheryl Rowling

Debate continues about whether it is best to utilize a bundled solution or choose best-of-breed technologies. Proponents of bundled solutions are attracted by the concept of a one-stop shop. Bundled solutions can offer seamless integration and one source for support. There is also the potential for cost savings when buying multiple components from one provider.Proponents of best-of-breed want to ensure that each component of their technology set is ideal. After all, as our industry embraces integration more and more, it is a fairly easy to have all the pieces work together smoothly. Believers in best-of-breed solutions know that should they become disenchanted with one piece, they can easily move to a better solution of their choice — without having to change their entire system or settle for less than ideal on one or more parts of the system.What would be truly ideal is the best of both worlds. What if there was an open... Read full post

Mar 26, 2014

Make your world small on social media

By Blane Warrene

Overwhelming. That is frequent feedback when discussing the first six months of a financial adviser's initial effort using social media in his or her business. Part of the challenge is learning techniques to use on social networks to filter and manage the fire hose of content that comes in the social stream. Perhaps more compelling though is the ability to concentrate your efforts in a desire to have a regional focus. That's not to ignore those who want to carve out a topical niche versus geographic focus – we'll cover that in a future article.I've appropriated the phrase “make your world small” from Jason Seiden, a speaker and expert in “socializing” the insides of corporations. It's a technique financial advisers can use to tame the wall of noise when looking at social media as a whole for their business.There are a number of steps you can take to tackle this challenge of creating visibility while... Read full post

Mar 25, 2014

5 SEO tips for financial advisers

By Craig Faulkner

As a creator of financial websites I am often asked, “What SEO can I do myself as a financial adviser?” Here are some great tips that will help your website rise to the top of the heap in Search Engine Optimization:1. Create Keyword-Rich ContentThe secret to SEO is learning to use keywords, or the words that people will type into search engines to find you. As you are writing your content, be sure to use relevant keywords throughout your page. Here are some examples of keywords that relate to this post: SEO, financial, advisors, keywords, headers, links, FMG, and Faulkner. Try a few searches yourself, and you'll quickly learn to identify keywords.2. Have Keywords in the First Few Lines of Your PageA search engine scans a page's content from top to bottom, and tends to give more ranking weight to the first few lines than to the lines at the very bottom of the page. Be sure to include your highest-favored keywords in those... Read full post

Mar 24, 2014

Giving yourself the gift of technology

By Sheryl Rowling

I did something crazy this weekend: I went to London to see a play. What makes this even more crazy is that:*It's tax season. *I planned the trip less than 3 weeks ago. *I live in San Diego. You see, my favorite musical, We Will Rock You, is closing in London after a 12-year run. (There's still an opportunity to see the U.S. tour through this summer.) I just couldn't bear to not see it one last time. So, at 1:00 am after a late night at work, I started playing "what if" on my iPad. Within an hour, I had booked a pair of round trip flights for my husband and myself, using only 20,000 miles each way! I purchased primo tickets to the play and reserved a room at the St. Pancras Renaissance using my Marriott points.Was it serendipity that I could do all of this so easily at the spur of the moment?We left Thursday morning. I slept on the way to New York and worked while flying to London. How amazing to have wifi over the Atlantic! I was... Read full post

Mar 17, 2014

Tired of PowerPoint? Here's another option

By Sheryl Rowling

From time to time, we all have to do presentations. Wouldn't it be nice to use something other than the same boring PowerPoint templates? You could spend hours and hours learning Prezi or you can now utilize a new service called Slide Bureau. According to McKenna Phillabaum, the marketing manager at Jackson Fish Market, "Slide Bureau is a presentation creation and sharing tool. It's unique because we create custom user-requested templates to serve any situation. We've got templates with live data and the ability to talk directly to services like Google Maps and YouTube." Per the website, the service offers:• Slide templates made for your job.• Slide templates with live data from Internet services you rely on.• A template boutique with tons of stunning designs to choose from.• Ability to present to audiences anywhere, in any web browser, on any device.• Ability to create presentations right on your iPad.This... Read full post

Mar 13, 2014

How to secure yourself online

By Blane Warrene

Privacy and security are recurring and critical themes in our ever-expanding digital and social-media landscape. Addressing this topic and tasks head on will vastly increase your safety online, enabling you to engage with your clients and connections more securely, as well as boosting your compliance program even further.There are four key areas to explore when evaluating your privacy and security:1. Account access2. Data access3. Credentials4. Attacks and malwareTwo-factor authenticationThis is a simple move you can make across numerous online accounts that dramatically reduces your risk of compromise from hackers. Nearly every site of substance offers this from Buffer to Facebook and Google, Linked, Twitter and more. The idea is that once you submit your username and password you are prompted for a secret code sent via SMS message to your mobile device of choice. This is the “second factor” of your login. It's easy to... Read full post

Mar 11, 2014

Time to take a cold, hard look at your website

By Craig Faulkner

When it comes to reshaping your practice, there are a lot of loose ends, but there's one that most advisers put off year after year — their website. I've seen it: the stock photography from 1985, that goofy animated banner, and those crooked pages that no one bothered to fix. And that's looking past the fact that there's really not much on there (other than your phone number and your address) that is really of value to visitors.Tech reporter Joyce Hanson asks are these 'must-have' elements on your website? Ten years ago, you got a pat on the back for having a website. Maybe it didn't look perfect, but not many people were going to give it a second thought. In 2004 the Internet was made up of mostly poorly designed underwhelming websites; who could really fault you for simply keeping step with the pack? These days, people have become far more sophisticated; they love to find flaws in a website! In fact, there are hundreds of blogs ... Read full post

Mar 10, 2014

National Day of Unplugging: Mission accomplished

By Sheryl Rowling

Contrary to the doubters and the nonbelievers out there, including myself, I actually was able to keep my cellphone powered off, and stayed away from my iPad and computers for 24 hours. Was it earth shattering? Life-changing? Eye-opening? Not really. It's true that I was anxious, concerned about what I was missing and worried that I was not reachable in an emergency. I was also bored. As a multitasker since childhood, not being able to read e-mails, check Facebook or play Words With Friends while in line or waiting for a meal made me fidgety! Just take a look at my diary for the first night (transcribed from scribbled notes):Friday 5:50 pm - After finishing my last-minute e-mails and phone calls, I turn off my phone and leave it in my bedroom. The sun is setting. dddddd5:55 pm - In our dining room, I join my husband and uncle for dinner. We share pleasant conversation and tasty food. So far, so good. 6:45 pm - It's Friday night and we... Read full post

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All content in the IN Tech blog was created by third-party author who is solely responsible for the content contained therein. Posts in the IN Tech blog do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of InvestmentNews.

  @IN Wire

Apr 18 01:02PM
Neither John Bogle nor Morningstar's research veep can make heads or tails of the TIAA-CREF/Nuveen deal
Apr 18 12:59PM
Terrifying lessons from 2013's #tax season: via @newsfromIN.

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