The job market is strong, and investment managers face challenges hiring the best reconciliation reporting team members.
Finding the perfect candidate with multiple years of industry experience and portfolio accounting software expertise is tough when you’re one of many RIA’s competing for talent.
Offering a salary and benefits package on your terms won’t get easier. If you can’t find your ideal performance reporting analyst, create one yourself.
The person you hire may not have years of experience or expertise, but if you’re committed to training, you can build a contributing team member you can be proud of.
Best Practices for Training Your Own Reconciliation Reporting Specialists
Clearly Define Expectations
Create a document for both management and trainees outlining goals and steps to achieve them.
If the goal is to run daily reconciliation reports without supervision, think about everything needed to make that happen.
How long will the training program be? Who will be the trainer(s)? What needs to be learned?
Concretely Define Learning Points
Make sure you’ve listed the must-know points.
This could be creating new securities, price files and portfolios. It could also include how to manually enter transactions by looking at a monthly custodian report. Whatever the points are, they need to be clear, and there must be documentation.
Create or Review Existing Documentation
Learning points are not taught by themselves. You must create process documentation.
When preparing the document, imagine as if you’re creating it for someone with zero experience.
Make the documentation easy to understand. Clearly mention each step. Do not skip anything.
Take screen shots. Use arrow or highlight areas, making it clear which buttons or tabs they need to click or files to open.
For each step, complement the screen shots with easy to read text. Do not omit useful details. Never assume the trainee knows what you know.
If you already have documentation, check if it’s still usable by referring to it while doing your processes. Old documentation may no longer apply when you’re using a new version of software or when the client has new reporting requirements. You may also have a more efficient way of doing the work, and the document must reflect the changes.
The documentation might be pretty good, but the trainee will still ask questions. Inevitably some things will be missing.
For instance, the person in training will come across an uncommon security or security type, but how to define these were not mentioned in the documentation.
There may also be unusual position or cash breaks with a not easily identifiable root cause (also not in the documentation).
It’s your job to show them what to do in these scenarios, and it’s the trainee’s job to take notes, ensuring the task is performed faster next time and without your help.
Employees learn best by doing, not just watching. Walk them through the process the first time with you in control of the keyboard and mouse, buy by the second time, give them control of the computer and guide them along, referring to the documentation.
As the trainee gets more comfortable with the software and the tasks, you can spend less time directly supervising. Eventually you won’t need to watch their every step, and you can simply make yourself available for questions when they need help.
Allow Room for Error, but Not Repeat Errors
Trainees will make mistakes.
Don’t be harsh for first-time “offenses”, but show them how not to make errors for next time.
As Rich Dad Poor Dad author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki said, “Don’t waste a good mistake… Learn from it.”
Create a QC Checklist
Once the report is done, have the trainee refer to a quality control checklist.
Here, they’ll see if they’ve taken the steps to minimize errors. (E.g. Are there prices missing? Are all securities properly defined?)
Sometimes you wish everyone knows what you know, but you can’t expect a newbie to know what may have taken you years to master.
Let’s not forget we all started at the bottom, and others were patient with us. Your patience goes a long way in building trust your employee has in you.
When the trainee does a good job or shows improvement, tell them. Your kind words will repay in the form of loyalty and commitment to excellence.
Get Trainee Feedback
Ask the employee what they thought of training.
See where you can improve in teaching methods and incorporate their notes into the documentation.
Training is not just about completing a function. It’s about the confidence you instill in someone to achieve more.
By accomplishing something that may have been difficult, they will not be afraid taking on new, more challenging tasks.
RIA Operations Ideal Employee Realized
Don’t wait around for that ideal recon reporting analyst to show up. Find someone who is a good fit and wants to learn.
By following these suggestions, you have what it takes to create your own talented team of reconcilers.
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