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Virtual Offices: How They Can Save Money – and Your Image

By Townes Haas   |    February 23, 2015   |    11:56 AM

Why Virtual Offices are Great Alternatives to Physical Office Space for Financial Advisors

Financial advisors have come to realize the benefits of telecommuting: the cost savings of not having a physical office, no more commuting on a daily basis and other similar cost-saving benefits. A recent article indicated that 20% or more of financial planning firms offer telecommuting as a benefit. As financial advisors go out on their own, they take this practice with them.

Yet not paying for a physical office space can have its downfalls.

Risks of Not Having Office Space

Financial advisors are often responsible for providing financial services to clients with all types of net worth. To fully understand the client, they often have many meetings with current and potential clients. People need to trust their financial advisors with their financial lives, and that means building confidence in the business' services, especially when dealing with a high-net worth family or individual.

Technology makes it easier to have meetings virtually, but is this really going to work every time with a client? If a person is handing over their financial future to someone, he is probably going to want to talk to that person face-to-face. This is where an office space comes in handy.

Another issue is image. If advisors solely work out of their home or a coffee shop, then they have a perception problem. It's hard to conceive having a financial relationship with someone who doesn't “appear" to be doing well.

Finally, the financial advising business needs to be found online since that's how most people research information about companies. Google requires a physical address for local searches. More than likely, putting the home address isn't going to be an option.

How Virtual Offices Can Help

While brick-and-mortar spaces often cost thousands of dollars in rent each month, virtual office spaces cost a fraction of that. Businesses only pay for the services that they use. Financial advisors can have a physical space to have meetings, and they can also use this address to receive mail or as an address for Google Places.

Another benefit of virtual office services is that they often come with reception or virtual assistant services. If a client is calling and they don't receive an answer, they may lose faith that the advisor is legit. Having someone to consistently answer phone calls and respond to high-level questions can help grow the business.

For financial advisors who have staff, employees will appreciate the flexible work schedules and the cost-savings of not having to go to an office day-in, day-out.

Financial advisors can't afford to not have an office, but that doesn't mean that they have to break the bank to have a physical location. Virtual offices provide the right balance of cost-savings and perception management.

Are you a financial planner who uses a virtual office space? Tell us about your experience in the comments!