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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode
  • Don’t be intimidated by sharing clients with CPAs who offer their own wealth management services. Just consistently provide maximum value on your end. Odds are that if they wanted the other COI handling everything, they would be.
  • Everybody feels insecure at times, but don’t give in to it. Adopt a personal dedication to your clients’ best interests. If you’re doing everything well on your end, you shouldn’t have much (if anything) to worry about.
  • Consider yourself a general practice financial physician: Sometimes you can cover all a clients’ needs, but sometimes they should see a specialist(s). However, once they’ve had metaphorical surgery, most will come back to you for regular maintenance.
  • Play the long game. Consider each CPA as a potential mutually beneficial associate. You may not want to refer clients to someone with directly competitive services. Regardless, keep things polite and professional, even in those cases.

Executive Summary:

Welcome to the Retirement Tax Services Podcast! This Tax Q&A Friday finds Steven answering a question from Anthony, a financial advisor in New York: How do you create a relationship with a client’s accountant when their firm offers its own wealth management service? Is constructive competition possible?

It can be intimidating the first time. However, if you prioritize what’s best for the client, it’s doable. In fact, if you consistently provide enough value on your end, reaching out could win you referrals in the long run. Think constructive competition.

Focus On Value

In Wednesday’s episode, Steven emphasized the importance of integrity. In other words, don’t just promise value. Deliver it, reliably. It’s not enough to say “Mr. and Mrs. Client, I’ll do X, Y, and Z for you.”

While you’re at it, realize that part of the value they receive comes from their understanding of what you do. In fact, if they don’t perceive something you provide, that value is lost.

Make sure you’ve articulated 100% of your services in easy terms. Aim for the simplest possible explanations without talking down. Practice explanations on team members first. This helps avoid sounding condescending.

If you do this while focusing on providing clients their maximum value daily, people will notice. In fact, if you’re doing it right, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Constructive Competition: Acknowledge Abundance

It boils down to building relationships. Try to appreciate the value another professional can bring to your client, too. Even the best financial advisor might run into situations/clients for whom they weren’t the best fit.

Instead of viewing this as a personal loss, approach things from an abundance mentality: Realize that there’s enough business to go around for everyone who does their job well. Think of yourself as a general practice doctor, releasing patients to specialists as necessary.

Even an accounting firm that offers wealth management doesn’t have to be a problem for a financial advisor. Take a team approach in pursuit of the client’s ideal value. Focus on constructive competition. The more each client benefits, the more likely you will, as well.

Reject insecurity in favor of networking with people who could provide referrals (once they know you’re reputable). Build the most high-quality, dependable practice you can within your niche. As a result, when you reach out to other COIs, clients may have been bragging about you to them.

On the other hand, avoid referrals to CPAs who offer directly competitive services. The goal is to lose your insecurity; not your clients.

Work to develop a pool of professional associates. Building mutual trust takes time, but it’s well worth it in the long run.

Your Action Items

  • Send your tax-related questions to If there’s a particular advisor guest of Steven’s that you’d like to hear answer it, please let us know.
  • Make sure you know who the other professionals in your clients’ lives are. This will help you provide additional value. Record that in your CRM. It could be a to help you develop referrals from centers of influence, too.
  • Get specific on how you’re going to improve your relationships with CPAs. Make it concrete, such as contacting 5 of them a month for the rest of the year. Accountability helps, so consider finding a networked community of peers to check in with.

Steven has more constructive competition tips in this episode of the Retirement Tax Services Podcast. You can reach Steven at

Thank you for listening.



Hello everyone!And welcome to the next episode of the Retirement TaxServices Podcast:Financial Professionals Edition. I’m your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA. In this show, I teach financial advisors how to deliver massive value to their clients through retirement tax planning. Today is of course, Friday again so for today’s tax Q&A Friday question, we’re going to go with a question from Anthony, CFP in New York. And his question is:

‘how do you create a relationship with your client’s accountant when their accounting firm offers or promotes their own wealth management practice?’

First, I want to say thank you to Anthony for reaching out with the question. He and I had a chance to talk through it a little bit together, but I thought this was a great question for the podcast as well, because this is something we’re seeing more and more often, as far as accountants also offering wealth management. I’m going to share a few different thoughts on this question, but I think it really comes down to two main points. The first, focusing on value to the client and the second, this idea of abundance mentality.

Focusing on providing value to your clients (01:35)

So, on the first one, when your primary objective is value to your client, it really simplifies the decision-making on working with other professionals.Whether they offer competing services or not, because ultimately, you’re going to do what’s in the best interest of your client.And taking a team approach, whether that’s internal team or external team is always going to result in better service to your clients, or in other words, better value. Now I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you have accounting firms who offer wealth advisory services at the top of your list of places to refer clients. But even that comes back to building relationships and knowing what value another professional offers your client, especially when you look at your niche or another firm’s niche, whether they’re accountants or just other financial planners.There are going to be situations where you are not the right fit.


And so, the more relationships you have in your network, the better you’re going to be at serving the right clients in the right way. Even with an accounting firm that offers wealth advisory services; the recommendation I make on this podcast related to working with COIs still applies. This is because ultimately your client is the one who wins, especially if the client was working with the accountant first and then came to you, which seems to be the case for Anthony. There is a reason they came to you and not the accounting firm they already working with on their tax preparation.Whether your client’s tax preparer offers wealth advisory services or not, I promise they know other financial advisors.Just like the estate planning attorneysyou refer clients to know other financial advisors. You can’t have this kind of limiting mindset of I’m only going to work with people who can’t possibly refer my client to someone else because everyone can do that.


If your client is receiving massive value from you, none of those connections will matter. And a huge way your client can get massive value from you is what we have talked about in other episodes already on this podcast, working proactively with all the financial professionals in their lives. So, complex issues get addressed in a seamless way. So that recommendation still stands,whether the CPAs in your client’s lives offer advisory services or not. In fact, my guess would be that you’ll be better off from a retention standpoint the more proactively you work with that client’s accountant – that client who is using accountant with wealth advisory – because your client will see you as a team providing no opportunity in the client’s mind to even consider changing where they get their financial planning from. Now, if there are advisors listening who have a lot of experience with clients who work with accounting firms that also offer wealth advisory services.


I would love to hear from you. This is not one I have extensive experience with because it really is,it’s a growing trend. There are whole firms out there that work with accountants to add wealth advisory to their existing tax practices. So it’s something we’re going to continue to see expand going forward. So, for advisors who already have experience with this, send me an email at I would be interested to hear your experience and potentially get you on the podcast to share it with my audience.

Channeling the Abundance mentality (04:34)

Okay, let’s switch gears and talk about this idea of abundance mentality for a minute. So, this is the opposite of a scarcity mindset, where you are scared that there are more advisors than clients who need your services and that another advisor winning a new client can only come at your expense.For advisors who deliver real value, like including tax planning. This just simply, isn’t true. Having an abundance mentality is embracing that there is enough opportunity for everyone. This will drive you to be more willing to proactively work with the professionals around you. So ultimately your client wins. So how should you build a relationship with a client’s accountant if they offer wealth management?First and foremost, proactive communication.Ask your client if it’s all right, that you reach out to their accountants,so you can discuss tax planning strategies and how to best implement them.And include the client on all of those interactions, all those communications.Make sure you’re sending a year in tax summary letter to the client so that they can take it to their accountant at tax-prep time, that lists all the 1099s they should expect to receive. And any tax planning strategies you help them implement during the year, make that process as easy as possible for your clients, and in turn for their accountant.

If you get pushback on tax ideas, you are sharing with your client, from their tax professional… offer to work directly with that tax professional, to make sure the client gets the best advice possible. This goes back to one of the things we talk about -especially advisors who are new to offering tax planning – you should always be ending your recommendations with, ‘I would love to coordinate with you and your tax preparer to make sure we’re implementing this correctly’.Get them on your team! So, you have that partner in delivering any of these tax planning strategies. These are really the same ideas that we’ve talked about before on working with CPAs, whether they’re offering wealth advisory or not.

Now just reality check for a second. I do realize that there are going to be situations where it’s just not going to be a good fit.Relationship building takes two and if the CPA isn’t willing to engage, there’s only so far, you can take it. But again, that’s true whether they offer advisory services or not. So, I wouldn’t really look at that as a limiting factor.Definitely be on the lookout for those situations, but accept that those are the exception and not the rule. If you really feel like it just can’t work for your client to have an accountant that offers wealth advisory services, just keep in mind that if you’re the one telling your client, they need to find a new professional to work with. You might be the professional they leave behind. So, Anthony, I hope that answers your question. I really appreciate you reaching out to ask it. Let’s wrap up today with action items as always.

Steven’s Action Items (07:08)

So, the first action item I’m going to recommend is that you send your questions on tax related things to So just like Anthony, we can get you an answer to some of these questions on future episodes of the show. You can even make a suggestion of who you would like to have answered the questions, if there is an advisor, you’d love to hear some perspective from.As an example, in a couple of weeks, TaylorSchulty, who’s been a guest on the show before – is a great advisor in San Diego – is going to be back on the show to answer some questions because they were directed specifically to him by some advisors in his network.

Okay, so the next action item is to make sure you knowwho the other professionals in your client’s lives are, and have that recorded in your CRM. That’s the starting point for being able to build relationships.Over the long-term this will help you develop referrals from centers of influence. But remember that your primary goal needs to be value to the client and the referrals will be a byproduct of you building those relationships.And just as importantly, demonstrating the value that a potential referral would get from working with you, because that’s really when these centers of influences and CPAs are going to start sending you referrals is when they’re completely confident that they know what that referral is going to get from you.

Last action item is to get specific on how you are going to improve your relationships with centers of influence, specifically CPAs. How many are you going to contact,and by when? Having a goal of ‘I’m going to do better’ is never going to get you anywhere. Having a goal of,‘I’m going to contact five CPAs a month for the rest of the year, and here’s the questions I’m going to ask each and every one of them’ is much more likely to produce results. And if you want to take that one step further, find somebody else to hold you accountable to that goal. This is where it’s great to be part of a network or community of advisors who are like-minded and focusing on similar growth areas, is that you can learn from them and you can share that accountability back and forth.


Alright, that’s all I have for today! Please take a minute and leave us a five-star review wherever you get your podcasts so our audience keeps growing. We can keep expanding the questions that are answered, and the topics that we’re covering.Until next time, good luck out there and remember to tip your server, not the IRS!


The information on this site is for education only and should not be considered tax advice. Retirement Tax Services is not affiliated with Shilanski & Associates, Jarvis Financial Services or any other financial services firms.

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