Improve the practice

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to analyse and develop and implement plans to improve the business of a financial practice. It requires the application of diagnosis and benchmarking skills not for the technical side of the practice, but to provide strategies for general business improvement.This unit may apply to job roles subject to licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements so Commonwealth, State or Territory requirements should be confirmed with the relevant body.


This unit may apply to job roles involving developing improvement strategies for any financial practice.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Diagnose the business

1.1. Data required for diagnosis are determined and sourced

1.2. Competitive advantage of the practice is determined from the data and a SWOT analysis undertaken

2. Benchmark the business

2.1. Sources of relevant benchmarking data are identified and sourced

2.2. Key indicators for benchmarking are selected in consultation with key stakeholders

2.3. Like indicators of own practice are compared with benchmark indicators and areas for improvement identified

3. Develop plans to improve practice performance

3.1. A consolidated list of required improvements is developed with cost-benefit ratios for required improvements determined

3.2. Work flow changes resulting from proposed improvements are determined and ranked according to agreed criteria

3.3. An action plan to implement the top ranked improvements is developed and agreed

3.4. Organisational structures are checked to ensure they are suitable

4. Implement and monitor plan

4.1. Implementation plan is developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and indicators of success of the plan agreed

4.2. Implementation is monitored against agreed indicators and adjusted as required

Required Skills

Required skills

well-developed communication skills to:

determine and confirm practice business requirements, using questioning and active listening as required

liaise with others, share information, listen and understand

negotiate outcomes with professional colleagues

use language and concepts appropriate to cultural differences

research skills for:

accessing and managing information, ,including benchmarking data

interpreting documentation

coordinating tasks

well-developed numeracy and IT skills for:

identifying and using financial modelling

accessing and using appropriate software such as word processors, spreadsheets and databases

accessing internet information

highly developed literacy skills to read and interpret documentation from a variety of sources and recording, gathering and consolidating financial information

well-developed problem solving skills to identify any issues that have the potential to impact on the practicebusiness improvement and to develop options to resolve these issues when they arise

teamwork skills for working and consulting with others when developing improvement plans for the business

planning skills to develop effective business plans and implementation strategies

Required knowledge

current financial practice systems and structures

methods of interpreting benchmarking and business strategy information

methods of selecting relevant key benchmarking indicators

SWOT analysis techniques

where to acquire required business and benchmarking data

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the ability to:

identify the key indicators of business performance for the practice

source and use a wide range of available information sources including acquiring information not readily available within a practice

analyse data and determine areas of improvement for practice

negotiate required improvements to ensure implementation.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

competency is demonstrated in the context of the financial services work environment and conditions specified in the range statement either in a relevant workplace or a closely simulated work environment

access to and the use of a range of common office equipment, technology, software and consumables

access to relevant legislation, regulations and codes of practice.

Method of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples, in combination, are appropriate for this unit:

evaluating an integrated activity which combines the elements of competency for the unit or a cluster of related units of competency

verbal or written questioning on underpinning knowledge and skills

setting and reviewing workplace projects and business simulations/scenarios

evaluating samples of work

accessing and validating third party reports.

Guidance information for assessment

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Data required includes:

appropriate business structures

break even data

business environment factors

competitor products, marketing and branding

competitor pricing and response to pricing

demographic factors

economic conditions

expected revenue levels, short-term and long-term

internal policies, procedures and practices

level of client service which can be provided

level of commercial activity







organisation capability

political, legislative and regulative impacts

pricing policy



growth rate

social factors

staff levels, capabilities and structure

technological impacts.

Competitive advantage includes:

services and products




SWOT analysis includes:

external opportunities such as:

changing market

economic conditions

external threats such as:

industry fee structures

strategic alliances

competitor marketing

internal strengths such as:

staff capability

recognised quality

internal weaknesses such as:

poor morale


limiting technology.

Key indicators may include:

client base

fee structure

number of staff

overhead and overhead control

personnel productivity (particularly of principals)


salary cost.

Organisational structures include:

legal structure


limited liability company

organisational structure and hierarchy

reward schemes.


Unit sector

Practice management

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.