A recent survey by Nationwide held good news for accountants, for a couple of reasons.

The fact that Nationwide conducted a survey asking investors’ views of CPAs providing financial services and advice is, in itself, a very good thing. It shows that CPAs are not only on the radars screens of the investing public, but also of the financial services firms hoping to hold on to some of that public’s investing dollars.

The survey findings bode well for CPAs, too. Nationwide reported that CPAs are affluent Americans’ second-most used source of financial assistance, behind financial planners. And nearly one in five investors polled considers a CPA their primary financial advisor.

While none of this will come as a shock to the accountants who have been providing financial services and advice to their clients for decades, it’s affirmation that the public has caught on to the fact that CPAs don’t just prepare taxes or conduct audits. It’s also further confirmation of the fact that the financial services firms get it, and that they’re paying attention to what CPAs are doing and how they’re working with clients. They should. After all, they have a vested interest in helping accountants be better financial advisors by helping them provide the services clients want in the way that clients want them. CPA financial planners are a huge potential distribution channel for financial services firms.

The Nationwide findings hold more good news: More than 25 percent of affluent respondents consult a CPA for comprehensive financial planning, retirement income planning or estate planning services. Apparently, Nationwide defines affluent investors as those with household incomes above $150,000, since that’s who they surveyed. While that may not meet everyone’s definition of affluent, it’s not too shabby. Again, the point is that it looks good for CPA advisors as a whole. It reaffirms the fact that people trust their accountants with more than their taxes.

One of the most often-cited concerns by CPAs about offering financial services is that they don’t want to lose their objectivity or jeopardize their client relationships. Among those respondents who said they use a CPA advisor, 91 percent said their CPA takes time to explain things they don’t understand; 89 percent said their CPA presents an objective analysis; 83 percent said their CPA researches all options; and 82 percent said their CPA stays in touch. Those results seem to indicate that clients know that their CPA advisors have their best interests at heart.

Isn’t it nice to get some good news?

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