Why You Are the Right Person to be Your Clients’ Financial Quarterback

Building an accounting/CPA firm from the inside can involve a number of marketing tactics. The bottom line is that building a practice from the inside increases your wallet share with current clients. This usually means providing additional services to your clients. An excellent way to accomplish this is to assume the role as your clients’ financial quarterback – a role your clients want you to assume. In a recent survey of financial advisors and accountants, the investment firm of Charles Schwab found that in the wake of the recent financial crisis Americans are taking greater responsibility for their financial future. Many are leaving online brokers and other investment firms to have their accountants take charge of their total financial management. [1] Similar findings have been reported over the last ten years indicating that clients want their trusted accountant to help them understand financial issues and manage their investments and other aspects of financial planning in a holistic manner.[2]

What is a Financial Quarterback?

A financial quarterback is the person who plans the strategy, calls the plays and, actually makes the plays happen. You might believe you are providing this service to your clients – in fact, you might be performing the service. The question is whether you are earning the financial returns for your work?  Clients want the assistance of someone they trust, who can help them look at the big picture of their finances in the context of the life they want to live both now and in the future. This could involve any of these elements of financial services:

·         Accounting services to the individual who is a business owner

·         Education planning

·         Estate Planning

·         Capitalizing on government benefits

·         Investment planning

·         Personal Finance

·         Protection planning

·         Retirement planning

·         Tax planning

Why Become the Financial Quarterback?

If you are interested in building a practice, there are three solid reasons for you to step up to the line of scrimmage and become your clients’ financial quarterback.

Reason 1: Work vs. Rewards. Accountants, generally, carry a higher level of responsibility for a lower level of pay than a financial planner or investment counselor.  In most cases, an accountant makes $150 -400 per hour. The person wearing the title in “financial services,” on the other hand, earns something in the neighborhood of $1,100 per hour.

Here is an example of what I mean. Many accountants feel that if they are a trustee, they carry more responsibility, must do more diligence and face more potential liabilities to earn $1,500 – 2,000 than the investment planner who earns $20,000. Another example is even more common. The CPA has the intimate knowledge of the client’s financial picture and develops the financial plan for the client. For this work, the CPA is paid $2,000. The client then goes to a financial advisor to execute the plan and pays the financial planner $10,000 – 20,000 on an annuity basis to execute the plan.

Here’s the bottom line:  The CPA does the lion’s share of the work, and the financial planner or investment counselor gets the lion’s share of the reward.

Reason 2: Starting the Year with an Empty Calendar

Accountants begin every year with an empty calendar. The CPA/accountant generally keeps his/her clients, but there is no revenue until a service is provided. The financial planner, on the other hand, is being paid a percentage of the investments s/he handles for the clients. The financial planner, then, begins the year with an annuitized book of business.

If the CPA/accountant takes six months off, s/he earns $0. Because no specific services are provided to a client, there is no revenue. The financial advisor, on the other hand, takes six months off and earns approximately the same amount of money as the previous year.

Here’s the bottom line: when you send your clients, with the plan you created, to a financial planner or investment counselor, you earn no residual revenue for that work while the investment person keeps on earning without lifting a finger.

Reason 3: Your Clients Trust You

Almost everything written about accountants and CPAs refers, at some point, to the level of trust people feel for their accountants. The description might sound something like, “you are their trusted business and financial advisor and they look to you for guidance.” According to the 2009 Gallup poll of public opinion for various professionals, accountants rank eighth of all professions. (The first seven are: nurses, pharmacists, high school teachers, medical doctors, clergy, police, and funeral directors).

A quick search of the available literature clearly demonstrates public misconceptions about the certification and licensing of financial advisors (or lack thereof) and is filled with commentaries on the kinds of professional misconduct and mistakes with which financial advisors are most commonly charged.

Here’s the bottom line: clients are more likely to trust their futures to you – the accountant. They want to work with you on these life-defining decisions. Let’s be honest, the public knows that accountants are basically “hard-wired” to always look out for the best interests of the client. Who else would they want as their financial quarterback?

Why would you start your year with an empty calendar while someone else is working with an annuitized book of business based on your plan? Why would you settle for doing the majority of the work and bearing most of the responsibility while a financial advisor reaps all of the rewards? Why would you tell your clients to take the plan you developed and go find a financial advisor to implement it? These are the three primary reasons why you are the right person to be your clients’ financial quarterback, building a practice from the inside at the same time. Managed investing

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