Suitability report writing software – useful or not?

5 May 2021

The majority of paraplanners (58%) find suitability report writing software a useful tool but only if used in tandem with personalised content, the findings of a recent parameters survey from Professional Paraplanner shows.

Among those in favour of using the software, time-efficiency, a reduction in human error and the ability to standardise the report process were cited as reasons for its usefulness.

One respondent said: “It can be great for time-efficiency and management, particularly for including standardised risk warnings.”

Another paraplanner added: “It can help to provide a useful starting point to a report, for example including relevant compliance and regulatory paragraphs depending on the advice being given.”

However, respondents agreed that relying too heavily on software runs the risk of reports becoming “formulaic” and “prescriptive” and said paraplanners need to be careful to tailor content to make it client-specific.

One respondent commented: “The disadvantage to report writing software is that reports typically need a lot of work after to personalise them and paraplanners and advisers can become over-reliant on their output. However, in particular circumstances and for certain types of report, they can significantly reduce the time spent by paraplanners on report writing.”

The sentiment was echoed by a fellow paraplanner who said: “Time has been spent producing standard paragraphs to speed up the report writing. I have yet to see any standalone report writing software that produces a letter that could be issued to a client without substantial editing.”

The results of the survey also showed that one in six (15%) paraplanners do not find the software useful for their report writing, while just over a quarter (27%) remain unsure.

One commented: “My experience with these is that they can provide some useful technical wording suitable for appendices to reports but are very poor and not usable for the actual main body of the suitability report.”

Another added: “Of the few report writing tools I’ve had a demo of, the time taken to edit afterwards would have been better used towards writing the entire report in one go.”

One paraplanner said a guide would be more beneficial, believing that relying on software gives paraplanners a place to hide when there are knowledge gaps.

Professional Paraplanner