Should You Partner With A CPA?

Michael Madden, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, Wealth Solutions Report

Integrated Partners’ Founder Announces New Book, Says Working With A CPA Can Benefits Advisors And Clients

A sports team’s offense can’t exist without a defense, and an advisory firm’s front office can’t exist without the back office. Beneath the surface of strong competitors lies a network of complementary, cooperative relationships. 

Small advisory firms and RIAs can also boost their growth and services to clients by finding partnerships with other professionals, including CPAs, providing a wider group of prospects for each partner and a more holistic set of services for clients of both. 

Paul Saganey, President & Founder, Integrated Partners

One firm that creates and empowers partnerships between CPAs and advisors is Waltham, Massachusetts-based Integrated Partners, which affiliates with 170 CPAs and 160 financial advisors, with $12 billion in assets under advisement. 

Paul Saganey, President and Founder of Integrated Partners, recently announced the publication of his book “Optimizing the Financial Lives of Clients: Harness the Power of an Accounting Firm’s Elite Wealth Management Practice,” co-authored with Homer Smith of konvergent wealth partners and Russ Alan Prince, an author of multiple books on private wealth.

The book presents a methodology for CPAs to engage with financial advisors to scale their practices and deepen client relationships, and shares strategies that Saganey employed at Integrated.

We caught up with Saganey to learn more about the benefits for advisors and clients when advisors and CPAs collaborate, as well as why some advisors are reluctant.

WSR: How can an advisor benefit from professional cooperation with a CPA?

Saganey: We hear this question from advisors every day: “How do I grow my practice?” Advisors who work closely with CPAs are able to take their practice to the next level by working with fewer, wealthier clients and business owners. By focusing their time on ideal clients, many advisors find more enjoyment in their business as they work on complex cases where they can really shine. 

Open door with new opportunities

These interesting cases drive advisors to new processes and procedures in their practice which create efficiencies and open up opportunities for other new, similarly situated clients. They also grow their revenue by working with fewer clients. 

WSR: How do the clients benefit if their advisor cooperates professionally with a CPA?

Taxes in one silo, investments in the other

Saganey: When it comes to their financials, many clients lack coordination in their financial affairs and live in a world of silos – their taxes are in one silo and their investments in another – while most CPAs are too busy to help clients with proactive tax planning. 

To solve this, cooperation between advisors and CPAs can truly streamline the client’s financial life. The client benefits from the coordination between advisor and CPA but also the planning that can be accomplished when the CPA and advisor work together, generating an increased understanding of a client’s situation and goals that lead to solutions not normally presented. 

WSR: What do you see as the primary reasons holding advisors back from this type of arrangement? How can those concerns be addressed? 

Saganey: It takes a lot of work to make a partnership successful and that can be frustrating for advisors. It’s one thing to find a CPA who is the right personality and business fit to work with but then you have to make the partnership thrive – that is harder, and holds advisors back. 

Sharing revenue is another reason advisors don’t want to work with CPAs, but when they take a step back and focus on the potential there should be no question it’s worth it. Advisors have to create and execute a plan to grow the relationship, which should include marketing, integrating wealth management into the CPA’s onboarding workflow and a strong referral process. 

Strength in thriving together

If you don’t consistently refine the referral process and stay in front of the CPA partner, then you most likely won’t see the growth metrics you want. Creating a plan will help drive growth.

Michael Madden, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, can be reached at mmadden@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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