If you’re looking for big picture advice that combines tax expertise with the know-how of a financial planner, a CPA might be the best bet outside of tax-preparing season? If you only meet annually during the spring, they may seem too busy to tackle bigger-picture issues. The fall can be a good time to schedule a meeting, so you still have time before year-end to make moves that might reduce your tax bill next April.
If your current relationships aren’t providing the guidance you need, it’s time to start seeking new ones. You could ask your existing CPA for a referral of someone who can also do holistic financial planning—perhaps there’s someone at the same firm who has such experience. But generally speaking, a CPA who owns their own firm and has a wealth of experience is capable of offering very sound financial advice.
That said, financial professionals have varied backgrounds and expertise, and it’s not easy for consumers to decipher the alphabet soup of credentials they often have after their names.
The certified financial planner, or CFP, designation is considered one of the most rigorous designations in the financial-advice industry. Holders have completed a course of study that’s the equivalent of 18 college credit hours and have passed an extensive exam with a first-time pass rate of about 68%. “CFP professionals get both a comprehensive education in tax planning and also are tested on it as part of the CFP exam,” says Dan Drummond, a spokesman for the CFP Board, which administers the credential.
That said, if they don’t also hold a CPA, CFP professionals might not prepare tax returns themselves.
When interviewing financial professionals, be sure to ask a lot of questions, says Gerri Walsh, senior vice president of investor education at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Among them: “What are the services you provide, and are there services you don’t provide?”
Whatever your financial and accounting needs are, Williams & Kunkel CPAs can help you. Call us today in Flower Mound at 972-446-1040 to have a chat.
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