Report writing tools v internal templates


Just wondering what peoples expericiences have been when using external report writing services like ATEB/Genovo etc. we are currently looking at this type of service for our business in the hope that it's an efficient cost-effective tool to use or are we better working our own internal template suite. I have also been told that the Intelligent Office back office system has some functions that could integrate with our internal templates that can potentially save some time.

Any thoughts/opinions would be appreciated.


  • Hi Conor

    We went through this process a couple of years back, with the option of our own templates and IO, or a report writing system. We chose to go with Genovo. This is how we looked at it:

    1) Updates- if you choose a report writer these are all taken care of. We have a fairly thin centralised team and updating templates in a timely fashion was becoming something we struggled with. Therefore, the cost to the company of updating templates at tax year end/legislative changes can immediately be offset against the fee paid for the report writer.

    In addition, if you were using document designer in IO, you'd probably need to update both system templates and off system back ups. I say this because say you have recommended a GIA, and then the advice changes to an offshore bond, you'd either need to redo the report in IO, or copy in the new sections from a back up template. So you would therefore need to update IO and the back up whenever changes to the template are made.

    2) Building a full suitability letter in IO, including all of your inserts using prompts and conditions, at outset would take a while and require expertise in house if you were going to do it properly. Whilst IO can provide some document designer support, the team there is small so you'd need to be able to do the majority of the heavy lifting in house.

    That said, you'd have access to almost all data fields in the IO fact find which are not currently available to Genovo for instance. So if you can get it right, once the template is up and running there could be long term time savings. We use IO for shorter letters and these work really well.

    3) A system like Genovo has a broader range of subject matter than any templates we ever had. It is also very intuitive for new paraplanners and whilst some of the content is very generic, at least it points people in the right direction.

    4) When we decided to use Genovo, our reports were immediately very different in structure and style. Whilst there is flexibility to add you own text to some of the sections, the structure is less flexible (which took some time for our advisers to accept). In addition, for the technical parts you don't want to amend these as you then lose the automatic updates for the section you have changed. You therefore have to be happy with how they describe for instance, the taxation of a GIA.

    There were pros and cons to both but we felt we;'d get more efficiency savings from Genovo than continuing with our own templates. It isn't perfect but it suits the way we have set up the business.

    Hope that is useful.


  • ConorBrownConorBrown Member

    Thanks for the info Tom, some good points raised for consideration. Much appreciated.

  • Hi @ConorBrown,

    For what it's worth, I took a different approach.

    I use Genovo/threesixty for appendices/technical fact sheets, but built the report templates myself.

    I found that building my own templates allowed me to produce a simple and clear report that covers the essentials, whilst providing me with more control over design and formatting.

    Happy to chat through in more detail if you like.

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