11 Essential Tech Tools Advisors Are Lining Up for on Black Friday
With Black Friday upon us, advisors will have a chance to add to their technology arsenal without having to blow a hole in their pockets. Here are 11 essential tech tools advisors should consider.
11. MacBook Pro & Windows Desktop PC
Macs win hands down for design and usability, but a few of my apps are Wintel only so I have to stay with that on my desktop.
10. Fidelity AdvisorChannelís My Custodian Trading System
This app is how I monitor and trade client accounts. It makes it easy to manage an entire practice with over 100 accounts. I couldn't work without it.
For an office without a VPN, GoToMyPC is a nice way to fetch files remotely. I'd never use it beyond that though, it's too slow.
8. BNA Income Tax Planner
I long ago gave up trying to build spreadsheets for income tax planning. This app has a lousy user interface but it's updated regularly and does the job.
7. MS Access & Excel; WordPerfect
Access is my portfolio management database (custom app), Excel with the financial analysis add-in is essential for so many routine tasks. As for WordPerfect, I've used both it and Word since the DOS days and WordPerfect has always been better for anything but very simple documents.
6. Local RAID, Online Backup
Once you go electronic you need multiply-redundant and secure backup; this is how I do it, and it's all automatic.
5. Smartphone with Verizon Broadband
Right now, I am using a Blackberry, but I might be switching soon. E-mail and internet access are the essential functions on this. Currently, I'm not a big app user, except for Google maps. With a smartphone, I can work from just about anywhere, and I can tether this to my Mac for broadband anywhere.
4. ViewSonic 24" HD Monitor
I added this as a secondary monitor, but now Iím using it as my primary. Once you have two monitors you'll never go back. It's great to have all that real estate, to keep all your essential apps open at once. Plus in meetings, you can have a secondary one that you rotate to clients, without worrying about accidentally sharing something you don't want to (For example, a popup notice about a new email, where even just the title could breach confidentiality. Ever see something like that during someone's shared-desktop meeting? I have!)
3. Fellowes Shredder
This is low tech, but essential. Advisers handle, and then get rid of, a lot of documents with confidential info. I've learned the expensive way that shredders under $100 break within a year or two.
2. Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 Scanner
Just about everything that I don't already get electronically takes a trip through this and then through the shredder. It's been reliable and deals with mixed paper sizes reasonably well. I save to PDF format.
1. Adobe Acrobat
The full version lets you create, assemble and mark up documents in PDF format, from any application. I use this every day; my entire archive is PDF.
11 Essential Tech Tools for Financial Advisors
Technology can set advisors apart and lack of technology can put them behind the eight ball. We chatted with independent RIA Tad Borek to get his thoughts on what tools are essential for 2011. (Surprisingly, his list did not include the iPad.)