The tax professional’s edge in offering Financial Services
When it comes to reasons for tax and accounting professionals to add financial services to their offerings, Kurtis Campbell lays out one of the most compelling: “Other advisors for our clients who are not tax professionals call us for our expertise, and then take our advice and implement it with a client,” he noted. “That conversation with other advisors giving away our knowledge for free is frustrating, because you are propping up their professional work when they should know it to begin with.”
“Knowing the impact of taxes on every transaction sets us apart as advisors,” added Campbell, a partner at Brown & Campbell CPA’s Inc. in Dayton, Ohio, offering financial services since 2009 with HD Vest Financial Services®.
Tax preparers in particular know the frustration of seeing clients come in every year facing unnecessarily high tax bills because of ill-considered investment moves, or having missed major tax-saving opportunities because their investment advisors weren’t tax-savvy.
“An investment move is a tax move, and it is important for clients and advisors to recognize this,” noted Lisa Pugel, president of D.B. Tax and Financial Services Inc. in South Milwaukee, Wis. “Knowing every aspect of my clients’ tax situations can help save significant dollars, and I can show the client that added value on returns.”
Citing areas like Roth IRA planning, harvesting tax losses, and finding tax-efficient ways to pass money on to beneficiaries, Pugel, HD Vest advisor since 1995, noted, “These are just a few examples of where my tax expertise is very valuable.”
Not only is deep knowledge of a client’s tax situation a must for being able apply that sort of expertise – it’s also a springboard for moving into offering financial services, which may explain why, in a recent Accounting Today/HD Vest survey of over 180 accountants and tax pros who offer financial services as a part of wealth management, more than two-thirds (69 percent) said that they get their new clients from tax preparation and tax prep discussions.
“With our knowledge of taxes, we are able to help our clients avoid making costly tax mistakes that they may regret later,” explained Charlene Wehring, founder of Wehring Wealth Management in Bellville, Texas, HD Vest Advisor since 1997. “As tax professionals, we can calculate and project the tax liability of a desired strategy and present it to our clients so they can evaluate and be prepared for the outcome of a particular situation. We can analyze the tax efficiency of a financial plan to avoid common pitfalls and thus increase the cash flow to our clients.”
Small wonder, then, that of the firms surveyed by Accounting Today and HD Vest, almost four-fifths (79 percent) said that “Maximized tax benefits” is one of the top three benefits their clients reap from their wealth management surveys.
Stronger, more trustworthy relationships between advisor and client are another benefit cited by survey respondents – an attitude echoed by Matthew White, the founder of M. White Financial Services in Baytown, TX, HD Vest Advisor since 2000: “I believe that having a tax background helps us build stronger relationships, especially with our high-net-worth clients who appreciate integrating tax and financial planning,” he said. “It helps us capture and effectively serve complex cases. We work closely with our clients and their estate planners to create the mindset of generational planning.”
The sort of long-term thinking that goes into good tax planning is just as valuable in helping a client plan out their financial life. “Our integrated tax planning considers taxes over the years, not just a function of minimizing taxes during the current year,” said Steven Wilson, founder of Steven L. Wilson & Associates CPAs, in Tulsa, Okla., HD Vest Advisor since 1994. “I don’t think I could [offer] financial services if I did not have the tax expertise.”
For more information about HD Vest Financial Services and how they can help you transfer a client’s wealth, visit hdvest.com/join or contact a Business Development Consultant at (800) 742-7950. HD Vest Financial Services® and its affiliates (collectively, “H.D. Vest, Inc.”) do not provide tax or accounting services. You should consult your tax professional regarding the tax implications of any investments. The views and opinions presented in this article are those of Kurtis Campbell, Lisa Pugel, Charlene Wehring, Matthew White, and Steven Wilson and not of HD Vest Financial Services® or its subsidiaries. Asset allocation does not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses. HD Vest Financial Services® is the holding company for the group of companies providing financial services under the HD Vest name. Securities offered through HD Vest Investment ServicesSM, Member SIPC, Advisory services offered through HD Vest Advisory ServicesSM, 6333 N. State Highway 161, Fourth Floor, Irving, TX 75038, 972-870-6000.