Family Office Automation: Onboarding the Technology You Need for the Results You Want

Family Office Automation: Onboarding the Technology You Need for the Results You Want

Watch or read the news and it can seem like each week ushers in a new technology claiming that it will make some aspect of your work better, faster, and easier.

Sometimes, those claims are true.

But with a wide range of technologies making a wider range of claims, how do you know which to choose? What is your knowledge “sweet spot” – how much do you need to know to choose wisely and well for your family office? And can an experienced partner, with a proven track record, help you minimize risks and maximize benefits during onboarding, implementation, and the long-term use of your new technology?

These considerations are particularly relevant to family offices because of the varied and vital services they provide to clients navigating the complexities of wealth management. In this article, we focus on the accounting component of family office services.

Family Office Accounting Services

A 2022 Forbes article concerning the “evolution of family office accounting” noted that “under the umbrella of ‘accounting’, there is a wide scope of operations beyond just what we initially associate with the term.” These days, family office accounting “can include investment management and analysis, general ledger accounting and other back-office processes, as well as the many logistics surrounding bill payment.” “[A]s a family office scales – and the industry with it, “ the legacy accounting tools on which family offices traditionally relied “simply aren’t as effective in handling the multi-entity accounting environment that modern family offices operate in.”

Choosing the right automation approach, and the best technology solutions, allows a family office to maintain control and maximize the functionality of its operations while focusing on its core competencies.

Goals: Bespoke Reporting and Efficiency

A recent discussion with a KnowLedger client highlighted some of the pervasive technology challenges for family offices and some of the benefits of a thoughtful tech upgrade.

The Vice President of a family office with 5 – 10 employees who process more than 100 investment transactions and manage 15-20 funding wires each month explained that her office was an early adopter of technology when choosing their first system years ago. Ultimately, that system was so challenging, and generated so many employee complaints, that the office actually lost team members as a result, and the remaining team members, despite their best efforts, found themselves “wasting a lot of time” due to system inefficiencies.

Before transitioning to a new system, the VP engaged in extensive due diligence and focused on achieving buy-in from the entire team. 

The two key concerns motivating the transition to a new technology solution: reporting and efficiency. The team needed the functionality of nimble ad hoc reporting and wanted a new, efficient, system that had already been thoroughly tested in the industry.

Initial efforts to transition to a more suitable system involved a cost-prohibitive vendor that simply did not know the family office space.

An Experienced Partner Makes a Difference

The VP contrasted that experience with the dramatic impact that KnowLedger had on the transition to their new system “almost from Day 1.” She stressed the benefits of KnowLedger’s attendance at every meeting with vendors and that it “really went above and beyond to make sure that we did not make any bad decisions.” She explained that since their in-house team was not familiar with the systems under consideration, KnowLedger’s ability to ask questions, spot red flags, and drill down on the resolution of potential issues in advance was “incredibly valuable.”

In contrast to their previous system, the VP described their new system as “very user friendly,” adding that the “team members all feel very invested” and that “everyone on the team is a big supporter.”

And the reporting needs that inspired their transition to a new system? The VP explained that they now work with multiple reports that are “so user friendly,” and that the team has “so much flexibility” and can easily tailor reporting. The team currently reports to the principal on a weekly basis, which is possible only because of the level of automation they have successfully achieved. These days, they can pull together a mission-critical report in a matter of hours if needed.

To quantify the efficiencies resulting from the transition to their new system, the VP explained that the team size was reduced by 30% (one member was able to retire and the remaining headcount were reallocated), and that the team now works so efficiently that they take on new projects and challenges.

The VP offered one specific example of efficiency from her own experience. She explains that she used to spend hours reviewing journal vouchers but that she now reviews only those that are manually created, of which there are so few that she spends almost no time on this previously labor-intensive task.

Takeaways at a Glance

What are the goals of your family office?


Do you require bespoke internal reporting, tailored to the needs and interests of your principals? Nimble reporting – adjustable to focus on different issues and incorporate different data points – and frequent reporting, are only possible if your family office has achieved a sufficient level of automation.

The same tools that effectively automate accounting processes and enhance your reporting capabilities can also create custom dashboards, providing on-demand access to information requested by your principals.


Traditionally, family office data entry and management were very labor-intensive, requiring many people to get the work done. The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and other publications have all recognized the shortage of accountants in the marketplace. Faced with a diminishing talent pool, it is important to be able to right-size your headcount. And any new accountants you hire will want to know that your office respects their talents and applies their skills to higher-value tasks, not data entry.

Next Steps

With so many competing demands on family office employees, why not consider tools that add flexibility while improving accuracy and efficiency?

Is it time for your family office to maximize its functionality?

Leverage the insight, experience, and successful business practices of KnowLedger, LLC, for a better product and a smoother process.

We apply our intellectual capital for the benefit of each individual office, to achieve individualized success.