IMPLEMENT WEALTH MANAGEMENT SERVICES INTO YOUR ACCOUNTING FIRM

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STARTING AN ACCOUNTING FIRM OR TRYING TO GROW ONE

Powered By: AFO | WEALTH MANAGEMENT FORWARD

accounting advisory service

People desire financial certainty, especially amidst times when the economy is uncertain such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Accountants have recently shifted their focus from strictly compliance-based services to advisory services that offer a more holistic approach toward managing finances. When it comes to taking care of clients, accounting firms must prioritize upholding client relations, offering scalability from their services, and thinking long-term in terms of what can be done after guidance is provided.

The chart below is based on data from Business Insider in 2019 where they asked a sample of Americans if they are prepared for a recession in the United States. Based on the data, there is an overwhelming correlation between those who have a financial advisor and their preparation for a financial recession. 67% of adults who have a financial advisor feel prepared for a recession while for those without an advisor, 38% feel prepared. The data reveals a growing need for financial advisors, especially now that we are in a pandemic due to the emergence of COVID-19

financial advisor program

Prior to starting an accounting firm or if you are looking to grow your firm, it is important to note what an accounting advisory practice offers. Essentially, what accountant advisors do is provide guidance for clients aspiring to enhance their business. This can involve analyzing overall trends of a client’s business and seeking future opportunities to better their business. These business decisions are often difficult to navigate alone, so an accounting advisor acts as a coach to help navigate clients through the problems they face in order to achieve their goals. The engagement between coach and client fosters a partnership for businesses to promote future growth as a whole.

Accounting firms were already experiencing pressure to provide new resources for their clients, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this pressure. Within a virtual workspace environment, reaching out to and finding new clients became increasingly difficult. Taking this into account, accountants have found maintaining connections with clients to be at the forefront in terms of importance to their business. Businesses today are much more open to receiving a more holistic approach from accounting firms toward managing their finances. Through technology and collaboration, accounting firms are no longer undeserving their clients. Firms are increasingly offering Accounting Advisory in order to compete in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Cutting edge firms have adopted Holistic Wealth Management to gain a competitive advantage.

The implementation of AI solutions has been vital for the outreach of clients amid a virtual reality in the workforce. With that said, there remains an absence of personal connection between advisor and client that many accounting firms still struggle with. How well do you know your client when you can’t see them in person? Even after incorporating new technology, accounting firms found they still needed to adjust to a work-from-home society. While assistance was still offered, client relationships were not reaching full potential because services were no longer in person.

When starting an accounting firm or looking to grow one, the question that needs to be asked is how can one bring value-added services to clients and effectively maintain relationships? A storm of bankruptcies struck many businesses due to the pandemic, which accounting firms had to adjust for. AI has not only served as an enhancement for financial management, but also for gauging client relationships. Many firms have implemented AI to effectively evaluate external relationships in order to pinpoint the most advantageous strategy for maintaining and growing a business. Firms have emphasized the importance of AI as the only way to analyze client data more effectively

Although the future remains uncertain, there appears a consensus that when it comes to starting an accounting firm, AI will be vital for enhancing both a firm’s business and a firm’s relationships with its clients. Accordingly, accounting is now not the only thing employers are looking for in new hires; a background in analytics, computer science, and cybersecurity is being valued now more than ever. While financial advisory becomes more data-driven and technology-based, it remains vital for client relationships to be upheld because at the end of the day, people want to work with people. The figure below displays research conducted by SEI that reveals the two areas financial advisors wish they had more time to devote to is growing their practice (60%) and client/service meetings (22%).

financial advisor training

Many firms have already begun implementing more technology-based services in their practice for providing clients a more holistic approach to their wealth management. On March 2nd, 2021, Dynasty Financial Partners announced the launch of Amplius Wealth Advisors, a new financial advisory service. Amplius Wealth Advisors offers a range of financial services including wealth planning, tax accounting, public finance, portfolio management, asset allocation, real estate, and insurance. The team comprises individuals whose ages range from mid-20’s to in their 90’s. Their holistic approach and multi-generational team offer ample insights for clients for reaching any type of financial goal. The team not only prioritizes growth but also valuing the relationships with clients

This addition will greatly enhance Dynasty Financial Partners’ goals and services. Dynasty offers more than service, they offer a team that will guide clients toward greater financial success. Dynasty focuses on providing capital solutions for clients in order to expand, scale, and grow their business. Additionally, they develop solutions that align with the integrity of the firm as a whole by allowing their investment advisors to act as true fiduciaries for clients. With the implementation of Amplius Wealth Advisors, the financial advisory service will support advisors in assisting clients who aspire to start an accounting firm or just seek financial assistance

Similarly, Arrowroot Family Office (AFO) Wealth Management Forward also offers a holistic approach toward wealth management that not only assists clients with the problems they face, but also prepares clients for what to do after. AFO’s value-based service implements innovative technology along with one-on-one virtual assistance with a financial expert in order to maximize the assistance they provide. AFO understands that starting or growing an accounting firm is not an easy task, so they focus on assisting clients every step of the way. Clients are able to gain insights and advice about various areas of finance including financial planning, investment advisory, life insurance, and estate planning.

As many accounting firms have started taking the leap to advisory services, others have struggled to figure out how they can achieve the same feat. The two areas of focus if a firm is interested in transforming their business to a more advisory role are expansion and expertise.

Firms must understand that finance covers a large scope and clients may be experts in one area such as estate planning, but left in the dark in another area such as tax planning. Additionally, it is important to know where your clients stand and the areas that they need assistance. While your firm may offer estate planning, these same clients may also need assistance for elder care. Moreover, expertise is also an important factor for accounting firms transforming their operation. Say an accounting firm implements a more holistic form of financial services; they then have the ability to allocate tasks clients bring up to an expert within their firm or a trusted partner who really understands that specific field of finance. These accounting firms can act as general contractors and provide a multitude of services for clients by offering specialists in each field.

At the end of the day, although these adjustments have the potential to better the accounting firm, these services are for clients and for helping their businesses grow. It is important to understand what your current clients need and use that understanding to help them more efficiently in the future. There is a tremendous opportunity to be more than just a service, but to be an advisor who helps clients in any financial situation they may face. When reviewing a client’s tax return, for example, they can learn about all the advisory services an accounting firm offers in order to improve their business.

Accounting Advisory Planning

From technological advancements and adaptations to a post-COVID world, we have seen a shift away from traditional compliance services typically offered from accounting firms. Clients, especially today, need more certainly surrounding their finances and in-person assistance has become harder to come by. Implementing financial advisory, wealth management services, and coaching programs is now at the forefront of financial management and education. Clients looking to start an accounting firm cannot accomplish this on their own so the opportunity presents itself for firms to offer services for clients to reach their goals. In this way, clients can learn to build a more sustainable and profitable business.

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