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Demand in financial advice opens raft of opportunities for accountants

Demand in financial advice opens raft of opportunities for accountants

We’ve all heard about the rise in demand for financial advice over the last 12 months. With about 500,000 small employers due to stage for auto-enrolment in 2016, this was expected. But rather than turning to financial advisors, business owners and individuals are turning to their accountants for advice. 

According to research from Bower Private Clients, of the 105 accountants surveyed, 36% experienced an increase in demand from clients in the last 12 months. 

The most popular financial advice areas:

  • Pensions advice - 78% accountants expect clients to come to them for
  • IHT planning - 60% accountants expect this to be a major growth area
  • Income and capital gains tax mitigation - 61% accountants expect increase in requests

This demand is causing concern among accountants with 31% saying that they are worried that some of the advice they provide exceeds their professional expertise, and 6% stating that they have gone ahead and provided financial advice themselves.

From what we can see, a combination of technological advances, regulatory changes, and consumer demand is driving a coming together of accountancy and financial advice. The time-wary consumer is looking for a one-stop financial advice shop. 

According to the same study mentioned above, 45% of accountants said they expect their work with IFAs to increase over the next 24 months. ICAEW concurs. In last year’s at-retirement reforms, they suggested ‘expertise sharing’ between accountants and advisers, as both need to learn more about the peers’ specialisms to properly assist their clients.

We also think this is the way to go as it opens up a raft of opportunities for accountants, especially when it comes to auto-enrolment. While advising on which pensions to buy can continue to be the domain of IFA’s, it is up to accountants, as trusted providers, to help their clients comply.

In fact, Bradbury Hamilton, an IFA firm, is already getting a lot of business through a joint venture with Essex-based accountancy firm, Raffingers.

If you want to explore potential partnerships and growth opportunities for your practice, do some homework, talk to your network, and reach out to local IFAs to determine the kind of mutually beneficial service you can provide. Establishing strategic partnerships is key to transitioning to a finance advice model and to continued practice success.

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