Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

'You Need to Listen a Lot More Than You Talk'

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

'You Need to Listen a Lot More Than You Talk'

Article excerpt

Establishing a niche: The whole financial planning area for CPAs is a niche in and of itself. Twenty-one years ago, I started this practice after 15 years building a personal financial planning practice at a local CPA firm. We are a CPA financial planning firm that specializes in personal financial planning, tax, and investment advisory services. We're focused on high-income clients, primarily higher-net-worth clients. We're almost like their family office. We're there for every decision they face from a financial standpoint, talking to them often weekly or more.

Fee philosophy: A lot of financial planners charge an assets-under-management and an investment-oriented fee. We charge hourly or a retainer fee all based on hourly rates because we feel like the planning is really what's important. The most important thing we do with clients is that ongoing financial planning process. We've created a nice niche with that and a good reputation over a lot of years.

Getting to know clients: When we're doing personal financial planning, we're dealing with some of the most important issues that our clients face and their most deep-seated concerns, beliefs, fears, and worries. We really need to know about their family situation, what their goals are, what they want their life to look like. …

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