For the last two decades, CPAs and accounting firms across the country have expanded their menu of services to include financial products and services, financial planning, and in recent years, wealth management.
According to the CFP Board of Standards, there are over 7,600 CPAs that hold the CFP certification and the AICPA indicates more than 5,000 hold the PFS designation. In addition to the professionals that hold these certifications, there are thousands more that maintain securities licenses and offer financial products and services to their clients.
The role of the CPA and the array of services vary greatly. While some offer investment products to satisfy a particular need, others take a more holistic approach and include planning. At the high-end, firms offer wealth management which includes comprehensive planning, wealth transfer strategies, estate planning, and charitable giving.
The first step in the journey to offer financial services to your clients is to determine why you want to offer financial services and determine if it is the right strategy for your firm. For most firms, offering financial services is a natural step in assisting clients that ask for help. As you broaden the array of services to offer your clients, you will enhance your value and gain an additional source of revenue. Most importantly, your clients will benefit from an integrated plan that you guide or provide, rather than working with multiple advisors and a disjointed strategy.
In exploring if you should offer financial services and how – examine if your clients want your help and if you have the time to devote to expanding your menu of services. Do you have the expertise and are you comfortable discussing investments? While product knowledge can be acquired, it will take time to learn and serve clients. Consider how adding these services will impact your practice. Do you have the capacity to add services or will you need to build alliances or add staff?
As you begin to evaluate the questions outlined above, explore which business model fits your firm best and which products and services are most appropriate for most of your clients.
Selecting the Right Business Model
Selecting the right business model for your firm lays the groundwork for your program and many decisions to follow. The business model you choose will ultimately determine which services you offer and your role in the process. Although there are variations to each business model, there are three primary models to consider and we will outline them in our next blog – Step 2
Copyright: dimjul / 123RF Stock Photo