One of the most common questions I still get from close family and friends is “How was tax season this year?”, or if the question is posted in February or March, “Wow you must be slammed with tax returns right now!”. I think being a CPA, regardless of what industry you are in, it is assumed by many that you are preparing taxes for clients and you are an expert at any tax question that is asked. While many of us CPAs may fit that role, there are so many other avenues for a CPA. Avenues such as auditing various entities, forensic accounting and investigative work, financial reporting at a large corporation, or in my case, venturing into wealth management.
Juggling both titles, a Wealth Advisor and a CPA designation, I think of it as bridging the gap between the two worlds our clients tend to think of separately – their taxes, and their overall financial plan. Both of these ideally should be working in tandem, as financial plan strategies easily impact taxes at the end of the year, and on the flip side taxes can be the #1 erosion to wealth and need to always be considered. So while as a wealth advisor I focus on the financial planning and investment strategy, I rely on the client’s CPA for the primary tax strategy, as we all can’t be experts in everything. My goal is always to make sure my work is coordinating with the CPA’s work to make the overall strategy stronger than if they were done separately.
How do I do this for my clients here? There are a few ways:
- When appropriate, I strategize with our clients CPAs directly. This is one of the biggest differentiators we do for our clients. Since I speak the language so to say, it makes the year-end planning landscape much easier and more effective if both sides are aware of planning strategies throughout the year, It also takes the burden off the client to correctly remember and relay everything to both sides.
- I think about tax impact with every decision we make. This comes with the nature of being a CPA, but of course I think about the tax impact of all decisions we make. Taxes will never go away, but strategizing decisions can make a huge impact on the tax bill at the end of the year.
- I refer quality CPA’s to our clients. We always want our clients to have the best CPAs around and I am always looking for options to share with our clients. Again – makes planning easier and effective for both sides, and all around a better experience for our clients.
So, when I get those tax questions from family and friends, I am always trying to come up with ways to explain all of the above in one solid pitch. Five years into the wealth management industry I still haven’t found that one sentence to explain it all. It’s not a common path, so maybe not the easiest to explain. Perhaps that’s the beauty of it!
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice offered through Marshall & Sterling Wealth Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor. Marshall & Sterling Wealth Advisors and Kelsey Ponesse are separate entities from LPL financial.
Opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. To determine which investment may be appropriate for you, consult with your attorney, accountant, or financial advisor prior to investing.