Recently, Michael caught up with a friend who works as an accountant. A long discussion about the two professions got Michael thinking: do listeners of the Money Over 50 podcast (and people in general) know the difference between an accountant and a financial adviser?
And more importantly, what makes a good adviser or accountant?
Like any industry, there are good and bad advisers, and there are good and bad accountants.
The main difference between the two is that financial advisers give long term advice, whereas accountants are tax specialists who focus on getting a high tax return for that particular financial year. On top of that, they should also have foresight into maximising future tax returns.
At Money Over 50 we don’t do tax returns; however, we do work together with accountants to ensure we’re maximising the outcome for our clients. We like to see it as a team approach – it’s not our job to replace the work of an accountant, but we will gladly work with them to get the best results for mutual clients.
Not long ago, we had a meeting with a couple who had only a small amount left to pay on their home loan. They wanted to pay the house off rather than put the money into their super as a voluntary contribution. We recommended they do the opposite in order to get the best result, and also spoke with their accountant who gave the same advice – prioritise putting the money into super. We then helped the client put that plan into action. Accountants and advisers can, and do, work together.
At Money Over 50 we are tax-focused financial advisers, which means that our retirement planning is also centred around tax outcomes. But there are things in the world of finance we are not experts in. For example, we may not be able to give detailed advice to first home buyers, and probably wouldn’t keep up-to-date with the information about that legislation as it’s not helpful to our clientele. But we do maintain good relationships with accountants and work together to maximise our tax expertise.
A good financial adviser shouldn’t say they have a full range of financial services – and that they know everything. Put simply, everyone has different areas of knowledge. The important thing is to be honest about what that is, and to see the value of working with other experts in a team approach.
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Dallas Davison, Michael Hogue and Ali Hogue.