CPA Firm Jumps on Mortgage Bandwagon

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Practice Management Idea! Frustrated with watching as their clients stumbled through the paperwork needed to finance or refinance their mortgages with historically low rates, the partners at a local CPA firm in Alabama decided to create a new value added service that their clients love.

Last month, Birmingham-based Barfield Murphy Shank & Smith joined in on a booming mortgage business by creating a new value-added service for their clients - not by providing mortgages, but by gathering the financial data needed, filling out the paperwork and shopping out mortgage applications for their clients.

"When you refinance or buy a home, you have to send your W-2 forms, tax returns and other financial documents to a mortgage company," says partner Don Murphy. "But we have all that information right here."

In the first 30 days of offering the service, over two dozen clients contacted Mr. Murphy about it. He doesn't how many other clients have contacted any of the other 60 employees about this new service. "We realized this is an opportunity for us and a way to serve our clients better," Murphy says.

The firm charges nothing to its clients for providing this critical service. It gets paid part of the fee that mortgage companies usually charge for their services. The firm employees a staff member who is a licensed mortgage broker to handle all of the paperwork.

"We process the applications for our clients and then turn them over to one of the mortgage brokers and they do the closing. We're just on the front end. We know everything about you already, so let us handle your mortgage for you," Murphy says. "We hope it saves clients time because we're doing the front-end work. Other than maybe meeting an appraiser at their home and showing up at the closing, that's really all they have to do."

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