Unlike a financial advisors or accountants, as a financial coach, we work with a person’s day-to-day finances. That can look very different for many of us. We each have our own unique focus, approach, strategies we use, and ideal clients. (Don’t believe me? Check out the Many Faces of a Financial Coach blog series.) There are two other experts that help a person with their finances as well – CPAs and financial advisors. CPAs help an individual track and categorize expenses that already occurred (most likely business owners) and file their taxes for the prior year. Financial advisors are typically more responsible for the long-term health of an individual.

Here’s how they differ:

  • CPA’s: The past or current year tax strategies
  • Financial Coaches: Current money, behaviors, and mindset or more short-term goals
  • Financial Advisors: Long-term focus

In other words, I consider all professionals to be absolutely necessary to a person’s overall financial health.

I get a lot of calls from financial advisors, especially newer ones, who see me purely as a referral source for them. I try to explain that this isn’t generally the way it happens. We’re still living in a world where people search “financial planners near me” more than they search for “financial coach near me.” That means most people in search of financial help start with calling a financial planner. Or the client discloses to their CPA at tax time that they are having cash flow problems. These experts, if honest and working for the best interest of the client, can refer them to a coach and that’s typically the way the flow happens.

And when the three of us come together for the benefit of a client, magic can happen.

That’s why I’m always looking for financial advisors and CPAs who are interested in a partnership with me as a coach.

  • Another expert that is interested in having a working relationship with me.
  • Another expert that doesn’t see additional meetings or coordination as “more work”.
  • Another expert that doesn’t see me as a steady stream of referrals and that’s why they’re reaching out.
  • Another expert that sees my ability to help their clients become even more engaged in their money and that THIS is the benefit to the advisor

Just like no two financial coaches are created equal, neither are two advisors or accountants. It’s important to identify the traits you look for in this partnership and be as clear and specific up front.

When that happens, everyone wins.