Nexus: Behind the Scenes
July 29, 2021
Image used with permission: iStock/Blue Planet Studio
Nexus: Behind the Scenes
Over the years, readers of the Nexus blog have been treated to various posts from my colleagues. On the other hand, much like my role at Nexus, I have somehow managed to stay behind the scenes. Now the time has come to pen my first blog post. Fittingly, I thought I would enlighten you on my role at Nexus.
As Vice President & Chief Financial Officer (CFO), I am responsible for the financial management of the firm. In conjunction with our operations team, my role is to ensure the business operates smoothly, so our investment and wealth planning professionals have as much bandwidth as possible to best serve our clients.
As a small business, we have agility on our side. Since I’ve joined the firm, I’ve seen firsthand how we are able to build and improve. While we have made major strides over the years to hone our internal and external processes, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to make changes at a much faster pace.
In the last 18 months, we have all had to pivot, both professionally and personally, to being stuck at home. Change wasn’t optional, it was a necessity. For me, this included adjusting to new childcare routines, online schooling, home workouts and more. I have been sharing my “home workplace” with my wife, our three young daughters and our dog. Make no mistake about it, I consider myself very fortunate that I wasn’t adversely affected by the pandemic, and I have been enjoying the extra time I’ve spent with my family. But, adapting to the “new normal” required change, which can come with its own challenges.
This change also permeated our professional lives and the way we do things as a company. Our switch to Zoom meetings and virtual webinars have allowed flexibility and continuous face time with our clients. We have been responsive to government health communications, safety protocols and employee engagement throughout, solidifying what we already discerned: we are nimble and can adjust when necessary.
Internally, for our employees, vendors and clients this shift in working dynamics has produced a new standard of efficiency within our firm. In my role as CFO, I want to ensure our processes are effective and efficient—not only in terms of cost savings but also in terms of increased productivity.
Automating our processes has always been something we have striven to do at Nexus. An example, and something that we have done for some time now, is how we parse client statements. In the past, it was a manual task performed by some of our staff. By utilizing technology and clever coding, we automated redundant work, which allowed the team to dedicate more time to supporting our relationship managers. That extra support, in turn, benefits our clients. This exemplifies that we like being in the business of change and improving our processes.
At the beginning of the pandemic, something as simple as paying our vendors required a shift in how we do things. As a small business, we have traditionally issued cheques. Because we no longer worked alongside one another at one central location, this required generating cheques and couriering them between two signatories, something that was inefficient, costly and unsustainable. Making adjustments in a thoughtful way has allowed us to create a more efficient vendor payment process. We have now implemented a new approach in which our invoices are received and recompensed electronically with little intervention. Many will know that the pandemic has also altered how we facilitate transactions with client accounts by removing the need for cheques and streamlining deposits.
There are a lot of other examples of how we’ve adapted. What started as a change out of necessity has allowed us to rethink critical components of our business operations. That has been the most impactful result of the last year and a half. Everything at the bottom of the “job jar” got moved to the top and all at once.
Many of these behind-the-scenes processes are the focus of our operations department. Our motto in the department is “Things would be so much better if only…”. It is beneficial then—and in our firm’s best interests—that we are constantly striving to improve.
We’re trying to create an environment of open communication so our employees can work effectively and efficiently. All of the work we have done, and will continue to do, in the background is fundamental to the success of our business. It allows us to better serve our clients. And eventually, when we do get back to a more “normal” world, I hope to be able to meet more of our clients in person. Until then… I’ll be busy behind the scenes.