The practitioner who is their own chief compliance officer, financial planner, asset manager, insurance expert, administrative assistant, marketing director, etc., is too busy, overworked, and likely underpaid and undercapitalized to effectively deliver services and grow the practice. If you are this practitioner, go out today and find yourself an administrative assistant to start, and stop doing $10-per-hour work. Then look critically at everything else you do to see if there is a more efficient way to do the work that is better handled by someone else. You need to spend your time on three major areas; delivering great advice, meeting and building better relationships with your "A" clients, and growing your practice to be a better, sustainable business.
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To obtain adequate human resources, CPA planners will need to capitalize their business as they would recommend a client do if they wanted to add a division to an existing business or launch a new business, or they will need to affiliate with another RIA who has some scale and the resources for this endeavor to grow and succeed.
CPA financial planners love tools. We love to collect books, designations, tools, software ... all of the latest and greatest stuff. We love to attend conferences, webinars and get into deep technical discussions with colleagues about what may be the "best" tactic for a client. But to succeed in a financial planning business, you must understand that what you think doesn't really matter. What does matter is what your clients' think, and what they want from you.
And this is the easiest part of learning what you need in your firm's toolkit - ask your clients what they are not getting from their current financial planning relationship, and how you can help.
John Napolitano, CFP, CPA/PFS, is the chairman and CEO of U.S. Wealth Management, in Braintree, Mass. Reach him at (781) 849-9200.