The Elements

By Andrea Schlapia   |   May 7, 2014

Create and Organize Your SOPS With This Template

Categories: Blog, Operational Effectiveness, Time Management

Work-FlowsWhat if one of your key employees didn’t return to work tomorrow? Is your firm prepared to operate seamlessly? Probably not, unless Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are in place and the systems and processes have been rehearsed.

Standard Operating Procedures replicate best practices by describing detailed instructions on specific work processes. Clearly defined SOPs will decrease operating costs, reduce errors, and wasted time. SOPs are living documents that position your firm to succeed amidst chaos that accompanies natural disasters, employee loss, vacations, or illness and need to be available to all members on your team.

The Basics – How To Create SOPs

Creating SOPs isn’t as hard as you think and the payoff is vital to ensure uninterrupted operations for your firm. Use the three simple steps below to get started.

–   Identify who will manage the project. This person will be in charge of coordinating, tracking results, testing, implementation, and the completion of the SOP manual.

–   Determine who will be involved in the process. Typically, it is best to have each employee record every task they perform on a daily basis. Manage the process by starting with daily tasks and then move to monthly, quarterly, and annually.

–   Each employee should document the following for each task:

-What supplies and resources are needed
-Where the task will take place
-When the task is performed
-Qualifications or training needed to perform the task
-Terminology definitions
-Step-by-step instructions to complete the task

Download Ironstone’s Standard Operating Procedure Template to get started.

Operating Procedures will provide clarity for your team and allow employees to readily assume responsibility of assigned tasks. Align SOPs with job descriptions, new hire and employee training, and performance management or evaluations in order to consistently promote best practice procedures.

A Few Tipping Points

–   Test each SOP prior to implementation

–   Schedule bi-annual or annual reviews of the SOP to identify updates, gaps, or changes

–   Upon completion, use a three-ring binder with sheet protectors to house your manual and include a table of contents

–   Consider onsite and offsite storage of your SOP manual

Still need some help? Let us know what questions you have about strategic planning, business development, operational effectiveness, the human element at your firm, or whatever is on your mind! Leave us a comment or contact the Ironstone team.


Photo courtesy ©iStock/Getty Images/Thinkstock

Copyright ©Ironstone 2014. All rights reserved.



Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital

Andrea Schlapia, RCC™, HCS, sHRBP, is the Founder and CEO of Ironstone, which represents the culmination of her 20+ year career within the financial services industry. Her experience began as a financial advisor evolving into a consultant coach for advisors entering the field. This ignited her passion to support others through learning and development of best practices in order to achieve substantial results. To this end, she followed her desire into positions of senior-level practice management specialists for Dreyfus, Prudential, and DWS Investments prior to the realization of Ironstone.  Andrea’s focus is on practice management strategies to enhance and improve both business and personal life.

Andrea identifies 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Through coaching sessions and speaking engagements, she captivates her audience with interactive, high-energy presentations which are built with “how-to” strategies resulting in real-world implementation for significant impact. Andrea has been featured in multiple publications and audio broadcasts as a specialist and distinguished spokeswoman in the financial industry.

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