Quarterly Reports are like Ford Pintos – How to Fix it


Jul 29 • Practice Management • 19637 Views • No Comments

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Emotionally attached to your Ford Pinto?

Humans are creatures of habit and habits are hard to change. Whether we realize it or not, we become emotionally attached to them and tend to shy away from better ways of doing things.

Quarterly reports fall into this bucket – they’re an unnecessary client communication vehicle that’s only still around because of a habit. If you’re still generating quarterly reports, you’re driving a Ford Pinto. The only difference? Quarterly reports can’t be recalled by the manufacturer.

Earlier this year, I shared exciting news on the Blueleaf blog about one advisor, James, who celebrated his first “non-quarterly report” quarter. That’s right, he has completely eliminated the need for sending out quarterly reports. He broke his habit. As you know, this is a huge change. (Enjoying your April, James?) Recently, it dawned on me that some of you may not feel quite ready to free yourself from the habit of a quarterly reporting process, so today I offer a small stepping stone. Keep in mind, we’re putting a band-aid on a Pinto.

Try a new set of tires.

For advisors who want to continue quarterly reports, let’s start by changing the final step of your office’s process: Sending reports to clients. There are alternative options to physically mailing the reports you made. An obvious alternative is sending them online. Sending reports via the internet is actually more secure than via the mailman. Think about it – a mailbox at the end of a driveway has no lock on it. Online accounts have passwords. We’re already more secure online than not.

To send the reports online, there are two quick options. First, send it via email. Save the report file, write a quick message to the client, and click ‘Send’. Done. A second option is send it through a file-sharing service. There are many services out there (i.e. Dropbox), so just take your pick. Upload the file, create a log in for the client and let them know the report is online waiting for them.

Boom! No more paper or ink, folding or licking, address labels or stamps. Attach a file and push a button. Your beloved Pinto will move from point A to point B on a new set of tires.

Junk the Pinto.

After a quarter or two, you’ll grow more comfortable with this new way of thinking about reporting and your clients will be thanking you for reduced paper-shuffle. Soon you may feel ready to junk the Pinto altogether. Congrats! You’ve made a huge leap toward tech-enabled efficiency at your firm. One small step for man, one giant leap for… you get the picture. Now, here’s the best part: Your time savings from junking a quarterly-reporting-Pinto-process will more than pay for an alternative solution.

After all, who wants to clunk around in a Pinto when you can drive a Lamborghini?

Carolyn McRae

Carolyn is Marketing Manager at, helping advisors of all sizes build more scalable businesses through simple data, reporting and client interaction. She began her career in technology during college when she founded her first internet company. Today she oversees content generation, marketing, and special projects at Blueleaf, primarily writing to help advisors understand, evaluate, and leverage their technology.

She has a BSBA in, and enthusiasm for, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Previously a finance buff, Carolyn brings along a fresh perspective for how financial advisors can effectively market and grow their businesses like the entrepreneurs they truly are.

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