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Filling the advice gap in the Covid age: The value of financial advice

In a time where clients have a greater need for financial advice, accountancy firms are starting to explore new ways to diversify their business.

27th Jan 2021
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Accountants have worked around the clock to support their clients in 2020 and became the conduit for the government measures, advising on Covid support measures such as the furlough scheme and offering cashflow support.

But with the ongoing uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic continuing into 2021, there is a need to further strengthen their relationships with clients and offer a greater depth of services.

But how does offering financial advice fit into your current firm services? And what is the additional value of offering a one-stop shop that can cover everything from basic accounting through to tax planning, wealth planning and detailed financial advice?

Expanding your accounting firm services

Business clients want more from their accountant than just the traditional compliance work. Business owners often see their accountants as their trusted adviser and their first port of call for any financial questions and wealth management queries. The problem is accountants  cannot offer direct personal financial advice.

Industry regulations don’t permit accountants to offer financial advice to their clients, and this is generally an area where firms will outsource to a qualified financial adviser.

Therefore, a growing number of accounting firms are bringing financial advice in-house, giving them the potential to widen their service offering and to keep the whole process of business, accounting, tax and financial advice within the same firm.

Working financial advice into your firm offering

In the current business landscape, there’s a real need to update and evolve your service offering. But how do you go about beginning the transformation? And where does a financial advice service align with your existing accounting and tax services?

Adam Thompson, tax manager at Cardens Accountants & Business Advisors explained why becoming a financial adviser has helped him create a one-stop shop for clients’ financial and business needs.

“I could see there was a growing need to link our clients in with solid financial advice services. It was this is that drove our strategy of setting up our own financial advice firm, supported by The Openwork Partnership, aligned with the existing Cardens brand and offering financial advice services directly to those clients that require personalised advice.”

Business owners like simplicity and don’t want to phone up five people when dealing with their business and personal finances. Having the ability to offer an all-in-one service to your clients greatly strengthens your firm’s position in the market, as Thomson explained.

“I’m a tax specialist so I talk to people about short and long-term tax planning and most of these conversations involve talking about financial vehicles and products. As an accountant, I can tell the client the numbers but I can’t advise on their choices. But a qualified financial adviser can advise on this, so by having our own in house qualified financial adviser, we can support our clients even more.”

Creating a one-stop advice firm for your clients

There are a number of options when setting up a financial advice service, so it’s important to review these choices and take the best path for your firm.

You could go directly through the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), you could partner with a local independent financial adviser (IFA), or you could become a representative of a national group as Adam Thompson from Cardens explained:

“We’d been planning the idea for over a year, starting with me completing my professional level 4 diploma to become a financial adviser. Then there was the onboarding, setting up the website, writing the proposal documents and looking at marketing. Everything, in fact, that comes with setting up a fledgling business.

“You can’t set up a financial services firm overnight and it does need time dedicated to it. You have to be a separate firm for legal reasons, so we’ll be trading as Cardens Financial Planning Limited, within the wider Cardens brand.

“With clients becoming increasingly reliant on your advice and support during the current pandemic and ongoing economic downturn, as a firm, being able to offer end-to-end business, accounting, tax and financial advice helps to cement your trusted client relationships.”

The Openwork Partnership have made the whole process of adding financial advice easier. Find out more about growing your advice business with The Openwork Partnership.

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