As hard-working citizens, there comes a time when it’s essential to reach out for help in order to save money more consciously and invest it more wisely. As the old adage professes, “work smarter, not harder.” In order to do so, you must determine what kind of professional you need to hire to best support your wealth-building efforts.
While accountants and financial advisors may wear similar hats, there are some differences in their training, scope of work, financial planning services, and tax services they provide. This article will help you determine who you need and when you might require their assistance.
- What are some of the differences between an accountant and a financial advisor?
- What is an accountant, and when do you need one?
- What is a financial advisor, and when do you need one?
- Working with a financial advisor versus an accountant
What is the difference between an accountant and a financial advisor?
A financial advisor is a professional whose job it is to help you make financial decisions. An accountant or a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) may be trained to perform a variety of accounting services which may include tax preparation and financial statement preparation/auditing. Unless they have been properly trained and have the necessary licenses they cannot provide any advice on what investments or insurance products are best for your situation.
Financial advisors and/or brokers are governed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA), and/or their State’s securities agency. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are regulated by state law. The term ‘accountant’ is very broad and there are many careers and jobs that have this title. Some of these accountants may be regulated and/or governed by their states, others are not required to.
Both types of professionals can be helpful in their own ways, but there are fundamental differences between accountants and advisors that set them apart.
What is an accountant versus a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and when do you need one?
An accountant is any person who performs accounting work. They may or may not have a college degree, and are not typically licensed. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a state-licensed professional who can perform accounting work including the preparation of taxes as well as financial statements.
CPA’s typically have a 4-year college degree in accounting and must pass a rigorous examination in order to attain the CPA designation. They must also meet state requirements for licensing, which may include continuing education courses and examinations on ethics and laws governing public accounting practices
CPA’s are trained to be independent and objective and are regulated by the state in which they practice, they may also be trained in business law, tax law, accounting, and finance. Some CPA’s will specialize in areas such as tax accounting or auditing (working with financial records).
Certified Public Accountants (CPA) may choose to focus on some or all of these areas of accounting for their clients:
- Taxes/staying current with all tax law changes
- Preparing tax returns for individuals, corporations, and partnerships
- Auditing records of the above entities
- Reviewing transactions that may be subject to federal income tax withholding
- May be able to help with estate planning as it relates to taxes and accounting
- Calculating cost basis when investments are sold
- May be able to help clients understand various types of retirement plans available today as they relate to taxes
- May be able to suggest ways to reduce debt and/or taxes so their clients can save more money throughout their lifetime
When to consult an accountant?
People usually consult an accountant or a CPA when they want to:
- File taxes accurately and on time
- Start a new business or have questions about how to optimize a tax situation
- Ensure that financial records are in order and safely stored for future reference
- Find out what tax deductions are available to them
What is a financial advisor, and when do you need one?
A financial advisor is a professional who helps you make financial decisions. This professional may advise you on investments, insurance, tax planning, retirement, and estate planning. It’s important to understand that their advice should be considered in light of your own situation and financial goals.
It would be in your best interest to do your due diligence when researching the best firm in Texas by looking for a fiduciary financial advisor who is held to the highest standard of ethics. Ask about their fee structure so you understand how they are compensated. Whether via commission, fee-based, or fee-only, you need to understand pricing to support trust.
As fiduciary advisors in Texas, the PAX team operates in your highest interests as fee-based advisors. We provide full-service, affordable financial help. Our total focus is on your needs, goals, and desires. We put your interests ahead of ours.
Certain team members at PAX may have one or more of the following credentials:
- CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™)
- Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®)
- Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®)
- Juris Doctor (JD)
- Master’s Degree in Accounting (MSA)
- BFA (Behavioral Financial Advisor)
When to consult a financial advisor?
- If you want help investing your money to reach your financial goals and dreams
- If you want to figure out how much money you need for a comfortable retirement and want help making a plan to achieve this goal
- If you want help with minimizing risk and maximizing returns
- tax mitigation strategies
- If you want help protecting your assets against inflation or recession
Because your investment advisor or wealth manager (these are different names for financial advisors) is in charge of helping you achieve your financial goals, use this list to ask the right qualifying questions.
Work with a Texas financial advisor at PAX who provides tax planning in San Antonio, TX
If you’re looking for retirement help, investment advice, insurance guidance, and tax planning, then a Texas financial advisor at PAX may be your best bet. A good financial advisor will sit down with you to discuss your goals first and help you make the best choices.
Typically speaking, an accountant or CPA may be more focused on taxes and tax preparation, helping prevent an IRS audit, as well as financial statement preparation.
The financial advisors at PAX financial group are here to design a personalized and comprehensive financial plan to address all areas of your financial life. They can help you create and implement financial strategies to achieve your financial goals.
To best serve you, the PAX team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, Accredited Investment Fiduciaries ®, and insurance professionals will address your unique needs, as they come up. We are passionate about investing and would love to explore what type of investment strategies are right for you.
This material is provided by PAX Financial Group, LLC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note: Biblically Responsible Investing(“BRI”) involves, among other things, screening for companies that fit within the goal of investing in companies aligned with biblical values. Such screens may serve to reduce the pool of high performing companies considered for investment. Investing involves risk. BRI investing does not guarantee a favorable investment outcome. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product and should not be relied upon as such.