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Accountant or Advisor?

The accounting industry has been undergoing a transformation for many years now. The rise of user-friendly, cloud-based software and low-cost, small business-focused bookkeepers has destroyed up to 40 percent of traditional accounting firms’ revenue. Compliance, once the core focus for accountants, is now a commodity. But while the accounting industry has changed, the trusted role of the accountant has not.

Clients are now demanding more value-creating services from a one-stop shop. Financial advice is a naturally complementary service that can meet your clients’ demands, yet many accounting practices continue to ignore this opportunity. This is why increasingly, accountants who work hand-in-hand with a specialist financial advisor will succeed, and those who attempt to do it all by themselves – will inevitably be left behind.

An alignment of skills and culture

It is impossible for one person to offer clients high-quality personal accounting and financial planning advice. They may be complementary skill sets, but they are becoming increasingly specialised.

We know too well there are just not enough hours in the day for one person to keep on top of tax planning, asset structures and businesses management issues as well as investment strategy, insurance, and how to maximise the value of government payments such as the age pension.

The end of the accountants’ exemption has also drawn a clearer line between the two professions. While many accountants still need to make a decision, ‘Investment Trends’ has reported that approximately 9,000 accountants are now referring SMSF clients to a planner.

Counting the benefits

Too often we hear stories of clients who have moved their accounting business, as they have felt they would receive a more holistic service elsewhere. By working with a Financial Advisor you can put a fence around your current client base and underpin long-term sustainability and growth. This is why more and more accounting firms are looking to how they offer financial planning services to their clients.

At Partners SMSF Advice we are now working with over 10 accounting firms who have experienced the benefits of offering their clients holistic services and increased revenue through referrals as their traditional revenue streams fall. Partners Wealth Group is also experiencing increased demand for its accountant engagement models that allow the accounting firm to offer financial planning services to its clients under an engagement model that fits with the accounting firm. This can be a straight referral model, a Partnership Program or wealth joint venture.

Making it work

The partnership between Accounting and Financial Advice makes sense, but it requires an open discussion with your clients about the value it can provide. While this comes naturally to some, many continue to struggle with it, and under estimate their trusted role in their clients’ lives.

How can we help?

At Partners Wealth Group we take the same care with your clients as you do. We offer a true partnership where our dynamic team will ensure your business, and your clients’ best interests are at the forefront of every decision.

If you would like to discuss how you can improve your client offering, contact John Lethbridge on 03 8508 7869 to discuss how Partners Wealth Group can help.

A version of this article first appeared on Accountants Daily, May 2017.
This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.

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