The president of Harris Financial Services finds a winning solution in helping him grow his practice.
For Evan Harris, president of Harris Financial Services in Whitefish, Montana, financial advisory services are almost second nature. The 10-year industry veteran's father is an LPL advisor, and his first job out of college was with — you guessed it — an LPL firm.
"I've grown up with LPL. That's something I've known, and I'm very comfortable with," Evan said. "It's always been a very natural fit."
After a few years post-college gaining experience in the field, he joined his father's practice, taking over the reins in 2016. While the practice was profitable with a solid client base, with his education focused on business management, Evan had his sights set on growth.
"I'm so fortunate that when I took over this practice from my dad, he was very supportive in every step that I've taken," Evan said. "He took it as far as he could go as a single advisor. He's always said that if this is where I want to go, this is where we're going to go."
"We're at the point now where we're starting to think about acquisitions and how do we take over other practices in the area. I owe that to CFO Solutions. My business is so much more organized and structured than before." – Evan Harris
Evan’s introduction to CFO Solutions
Evan invested in continuing education opportunities and attended a CFO Solutions seminar in the fall of 2018. "I was checking it out, see if there was some relevancy," he says.
A year later, when his practice quickly began to grow, he realized that his growth track was outpacing his knowledge and ability to handle it alone. He thought back to the CFO Solutions seminar and decided to see if it could help him better manage his practice.
"I recognized that I needed to grow my staff. I needed help getting things organized," he said.
Evan reached out to LPL and the CFO Solutions team, accepting their offer to perform an analysis of his practice in March 2020. Working with Kian Salehizadeh, the two "hit the ground running," Evan said, each fully committed to optimizing growth opportunities for Harris Financial.
The expertise they brought
While Evan knew he could benefit from outside help, he didn't realize the breadth of expertise CFO Solutions would bring. "My expectation going into this was that I would get someone to sort of take a look at the financials; that was all I knew about CFO Solutions," he said. He soon learned that CFO Solutions help ran far deeper than just bookkeeping.
Kian was a perfect fit for Evan and his firm, with a collaborative approach that he found supportive and empathetic. Along with Kian's colleague Eric, a financial analyst, the three set about assessing and then developing short-, medium- and long-term goals for Harris Financial.
"One challenge for me as a business owner is that I'm very busy all the time," Evan said. "I have times where I have my financial advisor hat on, and I have to be an advisor. Other times, I have to be an investment manager, and then I have to be a business owner. And it can be so easy to get caught up doing all of those things that I'm continually working in the business and not working enough on the business."
Kian helped Evan build a roadmap and scheduled regular meetings where they measured progress and revised a growth plan. Within a few months, the payoff was tangible.
A business transformation
With Kian's help, Evan began finding efficiencies in his day-to-day routine and found solutions to vexing operational challenges. "Kian was helping me with everything, from how much cash I should keep in the business to what my staffing levels should be, he said."
For Evan, Kian and CFO Solutions helped guide his decision making, with solid business management supporting his company's operations. "CFO Solutions helped me expand my scope, especially when it came to organizing client service levels," Evan said. "They did a wonderful analysis for me where we looked at our service and revenue models and made them easier to manage and, consequently, more profitable."
Evan also turned to Kian for help with his budgeting and planning processes, and the results have solidified his bottom-line. "It's transformed the way that I manage staff and operations, and that's in response to the empowerment that I got from knowing more about my business," he said.
In less than one year working with CFO Solutions, Evan already has his sights set on more ambitious goals. "We're at the point now where we're starting to think about acquisitions and how do we take over other practices in the area," he said. "I owe that to CFO Solutions. My business is so much more organized and structured than before, thanks in large part to CFO Solutions.” "
Moving forward, Evan is looking to use technology to engage more effectively with his clients and hire another advisor; progress he largely attributes to Kian and CFO Solutions. "I went into this kind of skeptical, thinking that if I hate it, I could always get out of it. But after working with them for just nine months, CFO Solutions has been paid back five-fold." he said.
About CFO Solutions
CFO Solutions offers extremely customizable and personalized offerings for advisors. As a strategic partner for advisors, CFO Solutions utilizes financials and metrics as a basis for the scope of engagements. In addition to internal platforms, they leverage QuickBooks, Adaptive, Fathom, and Truelytics. The collective team includes CPAs, CVAs, CFAs, former business owners, former management consultants, industry experts, Treasury specialists, and M&A specialists.
The views and opinions expressed by the LPL Financial Advisor may not be representative of the views of other Financial Advisors and are not indicative of future performance or success. Neither LPL Financial nor the LPL Financial Advisor can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.
Harris Financial Services and LPL Financial are separate entities.