Five Ways to Make Yourself a Valuable Member of the Team

Clients are the lifeblood of your business, but many times, there is a lack of coordination between their advisors.  As a tax professional, you are a key member of the advisory team of a client. Unfortunately, you will encounter clients who have financial advisors that do not feel comfortable working with you or bringing you into conversations.

Jan 7th 2020
President and Founder Mitlin Financial, Inc.
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Clients are the lifeblood of your business, but many times, there is a lack of coordination between their advisors.  As a tax professional, you are a key member of the advisory team of a client. Unfortunately, you will encounter clients who have financial advisors that do not feel comfortable working with you or bringing you into conversations. 

Difficulties can come in many forms, such as withholding information from you or not communicating the client's overall game plan. However they arise, they present an inherent problem for the client and need to be overcome. It is key for all members of a client advisory team to communicate effectively.

Here, I will discuss five ways you can work with difficult advisors and make yourself a valuable member of the team: 

1. Communication 

This is by far the most important aspect of any relationship, and it is a two-way street. Ideally, tax professionals should know when strategies are being discussed that may have a tax impact so they can be prepared. In the same vein, financial advisors should be made aware of tax planning that may impact the clients' financial planning or investment management. The only way to ensure this information is freely flowing between parties is to have an open line of communication between the clients and their advisors. In the end, the client’s financial situation is at stake, not ours. We must put our egos aside and work in the best interest of the client, which means communicating. Communication alone can save the client significant time and money.

2. Be a Resource

Unless they are a CPA themselves, financial advisors should not be giving tax advice. This means over the course of the year, the advisor will need to ask a tax professional questions they are not able to answer. You can be a big help and a resource to the advisor. In turn, this will lower barriers and show that you are willing to work with them and be a valuable member of the team.

3. Use the Advisor as a Resource 

Over the course of the year, you and your clients will come across challenges, some of which cannot be solved solely by tax planning. When collaborating with a financial advisor, you may be able to discern a viable solution. Even though you're a specialist, getting an outside perspective will help you obtain the best possible outcome for the client. Here's an example: Perhaps a client needs to retain a key employee and is concerned about what would happen if that person left. As a tax professional, this may not be an area that you are familiar with, but their financial advisor may be in a position to solve that problem for them or bring in another professional who can. This could be a win-win-win for you, the advisor, and the client.

4. Position Yourself as a Team Player 

Financial advisors and tax professionals alike have a tendency to feel threatened by the other. I never understood this, but it is clearly an issue. Encourage the financial advisor to attend meetings that you will be holding with the client. This will show you value their opinion and feel they are a member of the team, and it provides the client with a view of a unified front for their best interests. Clients' situations are more complicated than ever these days and require multiple people with different expertise and discipline to address their issues. Clients know this and appreciate where each professional’s expertise begins and ends. They also value when an advisor knows they must bring in other resources to address their concerns. The simple gesture of inviting the advisor to the meeting will go a long way.

5. Make Introductions 

Try to introduce the advisor to potential clients, centers of influence or others you feel it would be beneficial for them to know. It will really go a long way in showing that you feel they are a valuable member of the team and a resource that you trust and respect. There is no higher compliment making an introduction like this, and it will not go unnoticed by the financial advisor. Like you, they are trying to build their business, and it is much easier when there are others helping them do it. A gesture like this will solidify your intentions and goals to be a part of the team. I would not be surprised if you saw them return the favor and provide you with a few referrals in return. Taking the first step may be a gateway to opening a wave of other business for you both.

Tax professionals and financial advisors are cut from the same cloth. In many instances, we are both type A personalities who want to be the point person for our clients and ensure they are being taken care of in the best possible way. This propensity to want to do good and be the leader sometimes makes it challenging for these two groups to work cohesively together, but it is a must for the client. 

Implementing these five ways into your practice will lead to business growth in the form of referrals from both the financial advisor and your clients. It will also increase your client's trust in you, solidify your relationship with them and build a great bond with an outside, complementary professional.

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

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