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3 Ways the SECURE Act Will Help You Partner with a Financial Planner


As an accounting professional, you're always looking for ways to attract new clients and expand your service offerings. Have you considered partnering with a financial planner to discuss the SECURE Act? Here are three ways you might do that.

Mar 16th 2020
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“What should I be doing differently?” After filing their taxes, many Americans ask their accountant this question. People’s lives are also touched by others who help them handle their money, like financial planners, insurance agents, bankers and financial advisors. Now for the difference: As an accounting professional, you are most qualified to offer that advice. Many within the professions just mentioned are prohibited by their firms from offering accounting advice. Do you see the opportunity?

Let’s focus on financial planners.  It’s one of several professions seeking to demonstrate the value they deliver to clients for the fees they pay. They also want to add additional clients. Public seminars, webinars, executive conference calls, podcasts and client events are a few ways they share information with clients.

How do financial professionals get clients to show up? By providing something that people must learn about, yet would need to pay a price to gain the information otherwise. Put another way, if learning how the SECURE Act relates to them requires meeting with their accountant and paying for their time, a seminar where an accountant shares the answers for free sounds very attractive. The financial planner has the clients. They need a knowledgeable accountant who will speak for free. This could be you.

How to Make This Happen: Method 1

First, you need to understand the SECURE Act. Assemble two short talks, 15 and 30 minutes each. They should explain the provisions relating to the average taxpayer. 

You know financial planners; you might even have a referral relationship. If they also manage money, your office and theirs might be in touch for client year-end tax statements. Let them know there’s a need for people to learn about the provisions of the SECURE Act by giving a presentation. If they want to collaborate, you are available. They cover the meeting expenses. You are the guest speaker.

If they host periodic client events, this is an ideal fit. You are showcased as a subject matter expert and get exposure to their clients. If the financial planner doesn’t provide accounting services, everyone in the audience is a potential prospect. You aren’t selling. You are coming across as smart and reachable. People will have questions.

Method 2

You can take this strategy in a different direction. You have clients needing to learn about the SECURE Act. Some might not be happy with their financial planner or advisor. It’s easiest to tell 50 people the SECURE Act story at once vs. explaining it 50 times. Now, you can talk to that financial planner and suggest a shared event. You each fill half the room, covering half the costs. You'll both get the chance to get up and speak.

Method 3

You belong to the Chamber of Commerce, which as lots of small business owners, gig employees, and consultants. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the SECURE Act provides several incentives for small businesses. The SHRM indicates these include:

  • Increased business tax credit for plan startup costs
  • $ 500 tax credit (3 years) for plans adding auto enrollment of new hires
  • Simplifying rules and notice requirements for safe harbor 401(k) plans
  • Extension of the time period for companies to adopt new plans
  • Consolidated form 5500, reducing administrations costs with increased penalties for failing to file

Small business owners need to understand these changes. They may have accountants, but if they belong to the chamber, they are often involved in educational activities. Preparing a short, lively presentation and making yourself available to the Chamber could fill a room. This last strategy doesn’t involve financial planners, but it uses the same logic.

Your professional credentials and fiduciary standing make you the ideal person to impart this information.

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