When CPAs add financial services to their practices, the overwhelming method of entry is to affiliate with a broker/dealer and receive commissions. For many, there is a next stage: transitioning to a model of full financial advisory with compensation from fees based on assets under management. Careful management of the rebranding can ease clients into the new way of doing business.

Informing clients of the change involves many tasks. The communication is crafted, and letters and phone calls follow. "Telling clients about any change in practices is a biggie," says Allan D. Koltin, CPA, president and CEO of PDI Global Inc., in Chicago. "There are risks with the change, in that some won't understand, some will have a bias against, and others wanting to change firms will take the CPA's announcement as an excuse to move."

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