AdvicePay Financial Advisor Community Blog

Evaluating Your Billing & Payment Solution: Key Questions to Ask As a Financial Advisor

September 14, 2023 By Shannon Beck
Shannon Beck

Selecting the right billing and payment solution for your firm is crucial. 

Seriously, this decision can make or break your efficiency, client satisfaction, and overall success. So, as you’re going through the process of evaluating different solutions, it’s absolutely paramount to make an informed decision and ask the right questions. You don’t want to risk any inefficiencies, a subpar client experience, or even getting kicked off the platform you’re currently using.

In this blog, we will be exploring the key questions you should be asking when evaluating your billing and payment solution. 


1. What are my specific needs? 

It may seem obvious, but the first step is to evaluate your specific needs. Take a look at your client base and the types of services you offer. Do you need a solution that caters specifically to the advice-based portion of your business? Trust me, there are definitely risks and extra work involved if you opt for a solution that was not built to meet those needs. Take PayPal, for example. While it may appear convenient, it simply wasn’t designed with financial advisors in mind. An example of this is that PayPal doesn’t provide the various types of client notification communication surrounding payment and invoices that some state regulators require.

AdvicePay was specifically built for financial advisors, by financial advisors. Unlike PayPal, client notifications can be customized and set to your preference but are sent automatically by the AdvicePay system, in keeping with regulatory best practices.

2. What are the terms of use and acceptable use policy? 

Surprisingly, this question tends to get overlooked by financial advisors when evaluating billing and payment solutions, yet it happens to be the most crucial question you can ask. It’s absolutely vital for the success of your business that you carefully read and understand the Acceptable Use Policy of any platform you’re considering. Many platforms restrict the use of financial services business, and you could find yourself at risk of getting kicked off the platform. Quickbooks Merchant, PayPal, Wave, Square, and Venmo are just a few examples of platforms that impose such restrictions.

Trust us, it is not a matter of if you will be kicked off those platforms for charging for financial planning fees, but when you will be kicked off. 

AP vs. Others Blog (4)


3. Is the platform secure? 

Security is paramount in our industry, and any solution you consider should adhere to industry standards for data protection. You should confirm that the solution offers robust security measures to safeguard sensitive financial information. Always ask, “who stores the data?” Platforms like Square store client payment information – a definite data security risk. SOC-2-Type-II-Audited-2-768x768

At AdvicePay, we take data security very seriously and are working continuously to adjust to emerging threats while also taking proactive measures to test and tweak our systems. Furthermore, we perform an annual SOC 2 Type II audit – this Attestation of Compliance is widely known as the industry benchmark for SaaS businesses and the most stringent examination of an organization’s security controls, policies, and procedures. 


4. Does it offer any integrations? 

Integrating with your existing systems and automation capabilities can greatly enhance your workflow and reduce manual work. Ask whether the payment solution can seamlessly integrate with your CRM, eSignature tools, and other essential applications.

At the core of AdvicePay’s operational efficiency lies a robust ecosystem built through a variety of seamless integrations. We have integrations with Wealthbox, Redtail, Dropbox Sign, DocuSign, and Salesforce, to name a few. Furthermore, we continuously expand this ecosystem to meet your evolving business needs.


5. What Customer Support is Provided?  

Customer support can be overlooked but should be a critical factor in your decision-making process. Take platforms like Clover, for example; they claim to respond to your email inquiry within five business days.

On the other hand, AdvicePay boasts an exceptional customer support team. They truly understand our platform like no other! When you choose AdvicePay, you are not just getting access to our software; you’re also getting our dedicated team. Your clients can even send us their AdvicePay system questions, so you can focus on what you do best — giving advice. Our goal: a response time of 30 minutes during business hours. 

AP vs. Others Blog (3)

6. Does it trigger custody? 

While it’s not illegal for financial advisors to have custody, those who do are subject to substantial, additional compliance oversight requirements, including the obligation to arrange for an annual “surprise” audit — costing advisors time and money, at minimum $10,000 or more. Both Clover and Quickbooks trigger custody because you can enter credit card or ACH information in their gateway and edit subscription amounts without the customer’s permission. The audit won’t be quick if you are using these options as your billing and payment solution. 

AdvicePay acts as a third-party protective layer between advisors and their clients when it comes to handling billing and payment information and permissions. Clients enter their own credit card or bank account information into the AdvicePay Client Portal and once established via the client agreement, billing amounts cannot be edited by the advisor without the recorded consent of the client. Our workflow is designed to keep regulators happy so that if the audit comes, our users can simply download reports of their client transactions and know they have avoided custody in these areas.


7. What payment methods are accepted? 

Consider the payment methods your clients prefer or are likely to use. While credit/debit and ACH are common, some customers may prefer digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Wallet. It’s worth noting that certain providers have limitations on the payment methods they accept. 

With AdvicePay, you have the power to choose how you would like to be paid by your clients on each invoice. When requesting payments, you can accept credit/debit cards, ACH, digital wallet, and brokerage accounts (when debits are enabled on the brokerage account.)


By asking these seven key questions and thoroughly evaluating your options, you can make an informed choice that enhances the efficiency, security, and client experience of your firm. While a billing and payment solution may seem like a small part of your business, it is also a very key part of your business – because everyone likes getting paid, right? If you are using platforms like Quickbooks, PayPal, and others mentioned throughout this blog, it may be time to revisit your solution. The truth is, if you’re offering fee-for-service planning, there is no other platform besides AdvicePay built specifically for your needs. 


Don’t Risk Getting Kicked Off Quickbooks Merchant 



Posted by Shannon Beck

In her role, Shannon oversees all aspects of AdvicePay’s marketing and brand communications. Her experience in marketing for continuing education and tech companies means that she’s both a learner and a teacher through her work. When she’s not using her creative skills to help folks learn about AdvicePay and how to get the most out of it, you can find her kayaking, camping, and trying out new recipes with her husband. Born in Baltimore, she’s still an avid Raven’s fan, cheering from Montana.

Topics: Fee-For-Service, Integrations