Do I need an accountant or a financial planner? Or both!


Majority of business and Property owners posit that their Financial Planner or Accountant can handle the job of the other. The two roles complement each other implying that neither profession can do the entire job of the other. The Accountant and Financial Planner professionals tend to rely heavily on math and numbers but there are major differences.

However, on some instances, one may need the services of both depending on the nature of business or investment. Some intricate tax planning idioms and strategies will require a professional accountant but also seek the services of a Financial Planner to help in proper financial management and investment planning.

What Your Accountant Can Do For You;

One may wonder why they need to spend money on an accountant especially if the business is still small or is whiz about math and numbers or better even equipped with an intuitive tax preparation software.

The buzz word for accountants is “taxes” and everything to do with taxes with their main focus on strategizing, budgeting and tax preparation. In simple terms, tax return accountant help in reviewing of tax situations in line with changes in tax laws imposed by tax authorities such as the HMRC.

For example, in the United Kingdom UK, one can be an overseas investor with property in the UK falling under the Non-Resident Landlord Scheme Under the scheme, the investor is required to meet their tax obligation from overseas. To understand the laws surrounding bookkeeping and tax implications, its paramount that the services of a professional certified public accountant are sought.

A professional certified public accountant CPA can help with a number of issues;

 Expenses breakdown

 Laying of strategies to business growth and succession in relation to taxes

 Audit representation

 Rental property ownership

 Depreciation

 Financial statements

 Tax laws and how they affect your business or investments

 Tax preparations and tax returns

Generally, accountants are quite task-oriented helping with specific issues that are unavailable to individuals. One will usually need to be specific about the kind of help an accountant can offer, but their level of knowledge can be deep.

What Your Financial Planner Can Do For You:

A Financial Planner is all about investments, but just as accountants offer more than taxes, they also can offer more than investing your money. Besides investing, they can advise on bad and good debt, getting out of bad debt before investing and budgeting your money.

They, Financial Planners, focus on a broad picture but a different picture from which accountants look at. They are holistic and goal-oriented eyeing wealth building in effective ways while taking into consideration life goals and client needs.

Like accountants, financial planners are experts in their field and can identify opportunities business owners might not identify despite their knowledge on numbers and finances. From both logistical and emotional perspective, financial planners provide a comprehensive view at how a business fits into one’s life in overall.

Among others, a financial planner focuses on issues as;

 Insurance planning (investment, life, health, shareholder protection)

 Estate planning

 Budgeting

 Investment (short, medium and long-term)

 Asset allocation

 Saving for future expenses

 Business structure and strategy ideas

 Protection of wealth and accumulation

 Portfolio Management

There are different ways financial planner can be paid in contrast to accountants. Commission-based, fee-based and asset-based are the three main forms of payment. Commission-based planners earn a commission in percentage on money invested or insurance policies bought.

Fees-based planners charge a flat fee for a given service whereas asset-based planners charge a percentage of overall assets invested with them. It is, therefore, prudent to understand how one is paid before choosing the best planner to your needs.

Besides mode of payment, one can ask for referrals and be keen on the qualifications, experience, expertise and relevant professional certification of the planner you intend to hire.

What both Can Do For You

Business owners require that their financial planners and accountants work together to ensure they remain afloat financially. Owing to the increased number of accountants who broaden their expertise to include further designations, one may get an accountant who can provide the whole enchilada.

However appealing it can be to have a planner or accountant to provide a one-stop-shopping for you, it is advisable to create a financial team that provide clear financial solutions. A team made of a financial planner to guide on investments (risk assessment) and an accountant that guides on bookkeeping, laws governing tax returns.

When seeking the services of a financial planner or accountant, it is advisable to seek referrals from friends, relatives and colleagues and schedule a prior free of charge meeting. Identify an expert with qualification and certification such as Certified Public Accountant CPA or internationally recognized Certified Financial Planner designation.