Expectations from CPA Financial Advisors and Tax Accountants

Updated on April 10, 2014
S.H. asks from Santa Barbara, CA
7 answers

Are there any companies that handle investments and taxes?

I would really like a person who does our taxes to be familiar with investments and visa versa. I was explaining to my husband that I am tired of people working for us always crossing their arms and pointing in opposite directions as to who can answer that question. We are not rich, so I do not have a team come over to my home advising. I need to go to their office and think of my own questions.

Our taxes are pretty simple.

I think it is time to switch my financial planner. He was my parents' Advisor before they died. I just do not understand him (not that he is bad, but he talks slow and explains thing in a way that does not click with me). I take note and read it to my husband and then think it is ambiguous, I interpret it one way and my husband another way. The financial planners name plate has CPA written on it. He also has vice president at a major company that most would recognize.

I'm annoyed and think it is time to change. I just do not know with who (a friend, yet will that be weird for a friendship, kind of like doctors do not take friends as patients). How do you know if someone is good? After watching Wolf of Wall Street, it is hard to think these people care about the customer.

I am expecting to have two separate people (tax accountant and financial advisor). I will most likely keep the tax accountant (She explains things that make sense. It would just be nice for a financial planner to be able to say, based on your tax bracket XYZ makes sense instead of well I have not idea what your tax bracket is. I want to say to him, "Hey, dude you were so nosy to ask my husband's salary and other info you can figure that out?" I understand nobody wants to be liable, but I would at least like advise such as, "Based off the information (me the customer told him our tax bracket) you provided this is the out come."

I honestly think all institutions have good/bad or workers that click with certain clients. What has worked or not worked for people here?

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So What Happened?

Mynewnickname, thanks. Your info is very helping in showing me what I am missing from my current financial planner. He is really not working for ME inc.

Kimberly F., you are so right. I love the ME Inc. I always feel like I do not want to burden him. I could be more my issue, but i do want someone I like (i trust him, but I don't really like him). As I said he handled my parents. Maybe he clicked with them. He is always yelling about Obama and saying while pointing at my child 'she is going to be the one paying for the trillion billions he has borrowed."

Julie S., If I can do my taxes on Turbo tax, I hardly think it is as difficult as surgery. Do I like having a little peace of mind paying someone, sure. Do I need to, no. Not open heart surgery. I'm looking back at your answers, and I think you have the least helpful advice. Just as doctors work together and collaborate, your financial team should know what the left and right hands are doing. A good doctor would ask are you taking any other medicine and why? Not say, I have no clue what you take, but this drug I have will help with your issue, now you need to go find out if you are going to have an issue with your other doctors, my job is done.

Mommyof1, that is a great idea. i didnt think of that.

More Answers



answers from New York on

Kiss tons of frogs to find your perfect financial planner and tax advisor.

The skill set, educational and professional requirements are different for each. Ask friends, co-workers, etc. who they use or who they recommend. Have a set of questions you want to ask. Ask each of the candidates for your business the same set of questions when you set up a meeting with them. Write down their answers. Many don't charge for first time consultation which gives you tons of help for selecting a planner and tax professional.

Once you have met with all the potential candidates, it is time to compare notes and make a decision on who will be the best for your needs. Also note your needs may change and the expertise of your selected professional may not meet your needs and they may not be flexible enough to take you where you want to go in which case you may need to make a change.

Always remember you are working for the best interest of your Me, Inc. Every professional in your court need to be working in the best interest of your Me, Inc. too. This covers from doctors, to lawyers, to repair persons, to financial advisors to tax consultants, etc. Everyone around you should be working their best in your best interest. It takes a team to maintain the wealth.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have a financial planner, tax counsel/CPA and legal counsel.

Our financial planner and tax counsel do consult each other but they each have separate jobs as far as our investments, taxes, etc. When it is necessary, all three will consult with each other and us to make sure things are going in the direction we plan.

I do all of the quarterly tax reports, etc for our company and our tax counsel takes care of all other taxes which are to be filed yearly. He reviews my reports in QuickBooks and if there is something I need to adjust he lets me know.

I feel it is important to work WITH your financial counselor so you know and understand everything about your investments. A lot of people just hand over the accounts to "let someone deal with it" and that someone might not be the brightest financial advisor in the box and then you end up losing or not gaining as much as you could have.

Knowledge is power.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have separate financial planner and tax accountant. That said, my financial planner asks for our AGI (adjusted gross income from the tax return) each year. That way he can say - based on your AGI last year, unless you anticipate a huge income change, you'll be eligible to put money into a Roth IRA this year, so let's do xxx. Or he might say - you have this investment, and if you sell it, in your tax bracket, that is going to cost you around xxx in taxes next year, so be prepared for that.

So, although I don't expect my financial planner to prepare my taxes, I agree with you that your financial planner cannot do his job if he doesn't have a basic understanding of where you stand.

As for how to choose someone, I have always gone with larger companies because I know they are well-insured, so someone can't run off with all my $. Other than that, it's been hit or miss, and just interviewing people until we found someone we are comfortable with.

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answers from Wichita Falls on

Look for CFP's (certified Financial Planner) in your area and interview several to see which one you (and your husband) have the best report with. You should be comfortable talking about the details of your life with the as they need to be able to tailor your financial plan your your specific risk tolerance and time line. It's not just about getting to biggest return, it's about a plan that fits your needs and resources. He/She should be a good listener and be available when you need to contact them (not 24/7, but will return calls within a reasonable amount of time).

I would ask the CFP for recommendations for an accountant. Since he/she will already have a workup of you financial needs, they should also know a few accountants that would be a good match.

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answers from New York on

If you like your accountant, ask for a referral or two. She may work with several financial planners. Interview them all.

I do have to say that a financial planner can't plan a thing without knowing EVERYTHING about your financial status and income. So expect those to be the first questions you answer.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My best friend is the controller for a multi million dollar company.
She's not a tax accountant.
She pays to have her own taxes done.
CPA does not equal tax accountant.

Sounds like you just need a new financial advisor.
Really--our financial planner has no crossover with our taxes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Yes there are definitely firms that do both! You just need to do your research in your area and pick a good one! I actually work for a CPA who is also a financial advisor. It's a small firm, just him, myself (I am his assistant in the financial services side of the practice), and his tax assistant/secretary. Personally, I wouldn't recommend this particular guy to my worst enemy. He is a flake, he's mean, and I'm at my wits end working here. BUT, that being said, there are plenty of good ones out there. He and I go to monthly meetings with other CPA/financial advisors and I can tell many of them truly care about their clients. There are some benefits to using the same person for both. Think about it, if your CPA is also your financial advisor, he knows your goals, your income and spending habits, he can work with you to really choose good investment options. Also, they may be more apt to give you a discount on a particular service or lower their commission on your investments. It just makes a lot of sense to use someone who does both. Good luck!

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