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What skills should you ask for from your accountant and financial planner?

by , 21 April 2015
A match made in heaven is a rare possibility when it comes to your accountant and financial planner. Although your biggest wish would be that these two would work as a perfect team, in most cases they follow a common rule: Each speaks a different language fluently.

How can you diminish these differences or, at least, make sure that the two professionals reach a shared ground so that your company doesn't have to suffer?

Here are some tips...

Do this to make sure your finanical planner and accountant are on the same page

Claire Mackay,  Principal & Head of Advice at Quantum Financial, explains the various differences when it comes to communicating and sharing precious information in the field.

The financial situation of your company relies on the two professionals and while the accountant deals with taxes, auditing and business finances, your "financial planner assesses your entire financial situation and helps you devise your personal wealth protection and creation plan to reach your goals,' as Mackay says.

To ensure you don't pick the wrong professional or someone who will fail to properly accomplish their tasks or to communicate, here are two sets of skills you should ask and expect from each of these professionalse.

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Here are the skills you should demand from an accountant:

Communication skills – as previously set, needs to fit a good level of quality

Trustworthiness – Seek professional recommendations from people you know and you trust your initial feelings to test this.

Pro-active –choose an accountant who's more than eager to provide value together with advice that you can implement to improve your tax and accounting situation.

Technical skills – when it comes to this, Mackay says you should, at the very least, seek a Chartered Accountant or a CPA. You want a recognised professional advising you.

When it comes to the financial planner, here are the skills you should be demanding:

Trustworthiness – although this may raise some difficulties, look for  a Certified Financial Planner and ask for comments or endorsement about them from third parties.

Investing skills – look for a financial planner who has quality investing experience, preferably with an investment bank.

Structuring skills – in this particular aspect, your financial planner should be a qualified expert across various trust, company and other structures that can help build and protect your wealth.

Estate planning skills – this means that your financial planner should be a qualified expert in helping you pass wealth onto the next generation in the most efficient manner.

SMSF skills – in case you have a SMSF or wish to have one, then you need a fully qualified SMSF expert (they will need to hold the Certified Financial Planner qualification and then they need to gain an additional SMSF qualification, explains Mackay).

Communication skills - Your financial planner needs to be an effective communicator who can advise you on highly technical matter in plain English.

Note that both of them should advise you and prove that they want what's best for your business. They should take responsibility for the services they provide and also for any error which may occur. Moreover, if they can work as a team, you won't have to fear that a deadline won't be checked or that a poor communication damages the financial health of your business.

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