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As the end of June approaches, financial advisory firms across Australia face the dual tasks of wrapping up the financial year for their clients and reflecting on their own business performance. This pivotal time offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate achievements and set the stage for future growth. For firms seeking to enhance their results in the upcoming financial year, active engagement in strategic planning—and involving the entire team in the process—is essential.


There’s never been a better time to run a financial advice firm. The opportunities are outstanding: demand for financial advice has far outstripped supply, there’s a high barrier to entry that benefits established firms and the pendulum of over-regulation seems to be swinging back, creating a more favourable operating climate. However, despite the opportunities, many firms are not achieving the level of profitability they deserve.


The 171 advisory firms we featured in our Advice Operations Research Report 2024 achieved an average EBIT of only 23% (after normalising Principal’s salaries at $150k plus super), despite the fact that they’re targeting on average, 34% EBIT.  While this average actual EBIT is consistent with many research reports across the profession, 23% is not enough given the risks and complexity involved in running an advice firm and  the significant positive impact that financial advisers deliver to their clients. Most of our clients are working towards 35-40% EBIT, and that’s not a pipe dream— there are many successful firms in Australia that are already achieving over 30% (27% of the research participants achieved over 30% – in fact, 8% achieved over 40% EBIT).


A desire to lift profitability is not uncommon – in fact, when asked about their strategic priorities for the coming year, the top three areas of focus for firms in our research were:


  1. increasing profitability,
  2. improving efficiency, and
  3. expanding their client base.

These are worthy goals indeed – given the number of clients in need of advice and the fact that participants felt they could only manage an average of 148 ongoing client relationships per adviser on their current operating model. As a profession, we must keep working towards increasing the number of clients that each adviser can serve, while elevating the quality of services they provide. The answer to a more profitable, sustainable business is not limited to targeting complex clients who will pay higher-than-average fees, there are myriad ways to increase your impact and your business success.   However, to seize these opportunities and achieve outstanding results, firms must focus on strategic planning and actively work on their business, rather than just staying busy with client work (in the business).


The Power of a Clear Vision


One significant finding from our research# is the positive impact of having a documented and regularly shared vision. Those firms with a clear vision reported 26.4% EBIT and a satisfaction score of 3.8 out of 5. Those who shared this vision regularly with their team saw EBIT rise to 27.2% and satisfaction improve to 4 out of 5. These figures stand out compared to the average EBIT of 23% and an average satisfaction rating of 3.6 out of 5, suggesting that a clearly defined and shared vision positively impacts both financial performance and stakeholder satisfaction.


Involving the Entire Team


Another key insight from our research is the value of involving all staff in strategy planning and business improvement initiatives. Our study showed that 49% of businesses involved all staff in these processes, and a further 21% included those they considered leaders. The difference in profitability was significant: businesses that included staff reported an average EBIT of 25%, compared to 20% for those that relied solely on the owners. This collaborative approach not only enhances strategic plans but also fosters a strong team spirit, making everyone feel invested in the success of the business.


Reflecting on Achievements and Setting New Goals


As we close out the financial year, it’s crucial for advisory firms to reflect on their past performance and set ambitious yet achievable goals for the year ahead. Our Growth Alliance members are creating their one-page Evolution Map—an actionable plan for the 2025 financial year—in workshops we’re running around Australia in July and August. Whether you seek assistance or go it alone – there are two undeniable facts.


  1. Your business won’t improve beyond what it’s doing now if you don’t undertake good strategic planning
  2. That planning will only be effective when you identify your goals for the year AND the strategies/projects you’ll implement to achieve them.

Membership in The Growth Alliance provides the support needed to implement these plans effectively, helping firms achieve better results faster, with less risk and more enjoyment.


Join The Growth Alliance


To make the most of these opportunities and ensure your firm is on the path to success, consider joining The Growth Alliance. By booking a strategy call with us, you can explore how our program can help you put in place the strategic planning and execution needed to achieve your unique goals. We’ll guide you through the year, providing the tools and support to implement the strategies that will drive your firm’s growth.


Whether you’re looking to boost profitability, streamline operations, or grow your client base, engaging with The Growth Alliance can make a significant difference. Together, we can make the next financial year your best yet.


Visit The Growth Alliance to learn more and book your strategy call today.


#Advice Operations Research Report 2024 by Elixir, powered by VBP