Client Reporting: Realizing Your Project Potential Means Learning These 10 Lessons

Client reporting has been a top priority across asset management, wealth management and insurance firms since 2013 and shows no signs of falling off the list. Our experience collaborating with our clients spans these industries and the software and service providers who deliver solutions. Regardless of industry, firm size or geography the following 10 lessons learned apply.
  1. Current reports should be viewed as guidelines, not as hard requirements. Your future requirements are a critical precursor to any client reporting project. They must be complete and signed off before starting any initiative.
  2. Recognize that there is both a push and, increasingly, a pull aspect to the client information flow; this has material data management and architectural implications. Future proof your solution by considering the evolution of report delivery.
  3. Reporting solutions are only as good as the data that feeds them; driving to the root cause of current issues may reveal the issue is with the inputs and not the reporting application. Manage workflows and data change exceptions carefully and with strong controls.
  4. Establish and utilize a data dictionary to set standards, and fully understand the source and the ownership of all data used in the reporting process - and because it's worth repeating manage workflows and data change exceptions carefully and with strong controls.
  5. Staff for success with subject matter experts for both content and presentation and involve internal and external stakeholders, including the client, early and often in the change process
  6. Know what roles are required for your project and define and ensure role and responsibility clarity between you and your vendor
  7. Establish standards early to ensure a consistent look and feel (e.g., dollar values are to be right justified with "$" displayed)
  8. Do not underestimate the amount of testing that will be required; Use real data to better identify lurking design and data issues
  9. Recognize this is a re-engineering project as well; enhance business processes and workflows to maximize operational efficiency and establish ongoing governance
  10. Aim to communicate content that resonates with your customers, view reporting as an opportunity rather than an obligation
Bonus #11: Client customization demands – be it for content or for access – are only going to increase. The key to addressing these demands cost effectively lies both in enabling technologies and in the client reporting operating model. Put another way, a strong, standardized internal model enables a flexible, customized external delivery model.