CPAs are learning the basic rules of client prospecting and engagement in order to deepen their existing tax prep business. Whether they will bump up against traditional RIAs remains to be seen.
At a recent Accounting Today conference in Las Vegas, accountants were told to start selling insurance and financial planning services because "people forget you're in the business."
The fact is that people trust their accountants to do the right thing -- the fiduciary standard here is even stronger than it is with most investment advisors.
While a broader business profile would make the accountant -- and not the RIA rep -- the "quarterback" of a high-net-worth client's advisory team, this might not be a bad thing for more extroverted investment advisors.
Accountants naturally build deep bonds with their clients that other types of advisor have to work hard to cultivate.
They aren't always great at prospecting for new clients, which is where alliances with traditional advisors pay off for them.
The accountants at the conference were probably a little surprised to hear that the experts recommend getting in front of about one prospect a week in order to build a thriving business.
Advisors who love that aspect of the job can forestall a potential competitor by finding ambitious CPAs in their area and feeding them plenty of tax planning business.
That way, the accountant is busy and happy, and everybody remembers who is responsible for the client's financial plan.