Key Considerations for Technology Selection and Application in a Family Office

Danielle Valkner, Advisory Services, PwC

Session Description: 

Families often ask about the best technology platform for a family office – assuming there are just one or two types of technology solutions. In practice, most family offices require a combination of accounting, investment, and reporting tools, as well as various supporting systems. The specific tools vary based on the types of investments, activities performed within the office and by service providers, and the needs and desires of the family and its staff. This session provided an overview of family office technologies and the criteria to consider when making selections.


“Families are finding it harder to 'go it alone.' The focus is moving toward learning and collaborating among the family office associations, leveraging resources and best practices, and educating family members."
- Danielle Valkner​​​​​
Key Takeaways: 
  • As technology evolves, the rising generation wants information shared in a mobile/digital format with real-time information. Current systems make it difficult for families to get a comprehensive financial picture of the family’s wealth. Technology can be a source of empowerment for all generations and should be an essential part of any service or communications strategy.
  • Most offices require a mix of tools and technology across investment needs and financial/back office needs. There are over 300 solutions in the market and family offices should make decisions based on their own unique requirements.
    Vendors were highlighted in providing solutions across the following areas:
    • General Ledger
    • General Ledger/Investment Accounting/Partnership Accounting
    • Aggregation/Portfolio Management/Analytics
    • IT/Cloud/Cybersecurity
    • Reporting/Analytics/Visualization
  • Best practices in determining technology selections include: 1) consider the range of devices used by family office staff and family members – within the office and in the various family homes; 2) evaluate the latest developments in technology platforms; 3) consider the impact of solutions on efficiency and effectiveness within the office; 4) take into account needs and interests of the younger generation, including accounting software, global custody relationships, investment advisor interactions; and 5) look out 5-10 years and select vendors who will grow with you.
  • Emerging trends in Robotics and Intelligent Process Automation provide an opportunity to move from “low value activity” automation to systems that incorporate cognitive intelligence to execute tasks and update rules based on “learned” trends, with minimal human oversight.
    • Robotics Process Automation (RPA) are emerging tools that replace labor-intensive, repetitive activities across applications.
    • Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) combines RPA with Artificial Intelligence to make decisions based on large amounts of data

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