How to Know if Your CPA Partners Will Embrace Wealth Management

Nate Biddick, CFP®, AVP Practice Consulting
March 7, 2019

When deciding whether to launch a wealth management business inside your CPA firm, there is one main question you must know the answer to: Will my partners refer?

There are lots of reasons to not refer—and just as many responses to common objections. Just to name a few:

  • “I already refer to another advisor.” And how many return referrals have you received in return?
  • “My clients aren’t interested.” Are you sure? When was the last time you asked?
  • “If the market goes down, the client will leave.” In my eleven years coaching firms, this has happened exactly and only once. While my previous experience doesn’t guarantee this will not happen to you, coaching clients to understand the risk/reward dynamic of investing helps them stay the course.

So, while you and your partners discuss whether to add wealth management, balance your fears against the facts: your clients are asking you to do it, and you are tired of cleaning up financial messes caused by financial advice provided without understanding the tax ramifications.

Here are four ways you can know if your partners will refer wealth management business:

  1. They use advisors themselves, even if not for financial matters. These partners will understand the value of advice. If they have a financial advisor, even better, as they will understand the value of the wealth management and financial planning advice you are bringing into the firm for your clients.
  2. They completely understand what services will be offered. Many times CPA firms make decisions about whether to bring on wealth management—or not—based on different understandings of what services will be offered. One partner thinks “broker,” one thinks “insurance salesman” and another will think “Certified Financial Planner.” Getting the same definition as to what wealth management means in your firm will help you know if it’s going to work for all partners.
  3. They committed to specific referral activity when you asked them to. In order for the endeavor to be successful, you have to have partners commit to take specific action—and agree to accountability for that action. If your partner group has followed through in the past on other business-growth strategies, they will on this one too. If they haven’t, that’s okay too—it just requires a different launch strategy.
  4. They believe in the cause. Is there anybody better to serve your clients’ financial needs than you? If the answer is No, then you must be the firm that provides this service. It doesn’t have to be the partners themselves—a dedicated financial advisor in a large CPA firm supported by 1st Global’s best practices and coaching support has created many multi-million dollar practices. These firms got to that level of success by simply doing right by clients because they believed they were the best people to help their clients.

There are other unique partner situations we’ve come across in our 26 years of helping CPA firms do this business. For more information about why CPAs partner with 1st Global, click here.

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