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How to Strengthen CPA Partnerships
Financial advisors often work hard to establish partnerships with CPAs. However, the alliances are not always as fruitful regarding referrals as one would hope. While referrals are the product of good will, incentivizing the partnership helps formalize and strengthen the relationship. Another reason referrals may be lacking is because the opportunity for a CPA to refer you does not come up as often as you may think. If you want more referrals from your CPA partnerships start by incentivizing and then introduce tools to help make introductions happen!
Incentivize Your Partnership
When you incentivize a partnership, you put in place a process and framework that legitimizes and strengthens the partnership. While some would argue that incentivizing a referral program may appear to be untrustworthy from a client’s perspective, nothing could be further from the truth. An official contract helps to establish parameters around the partnership including what standard of service is expected after clients are referred.
Financial Advocates’ Professional Advisors Alliance formalizes the advisor and CPA partnership by allowing advisors who partner with Financial Advocates the framework to compensate their CPA partnerships with a specific percentage of the advisory fee they earn in connection with the ongoing management of the client’s advisory accounts. The partnership fee is disclosed to the client in at the time the services being recommended are reviewed.
Provide Tools to Get Organized
If there is one frustration for CPAs, it’s incomplete or missing information when it comes time for tax preparation. Many CPAs have implemented online organizers to help their clients get prepared, but so many still rely on the hand-off of the manila folder. The better organized you can get your clients in advance of their meeting, the more appreciative your CPA partners will be and the more willing to recommend you to others.
If you have administrative staff, reserve some of their time during tax season to be available to meet one-on-one with clients to scan hard copies of their essential tax forms and help to get them digitally organized. Once you have them organized on your end, utilize one of these tools to share the electronic files securely with your CPA partners.
- eMoney Vault – If you have eMoney you should take advantage of the Alliance Partnership feature. Here you can easily assign permission to share documents uploaded to your client’s Vault with their CPA.
- ShareFile– If you have a ShareFile subscription you can create a tax file for each client where they can upload their electronic documents and easily share them with their CPA.
Joint Marketing Opportunities
Every time there is a change to the tax code, especially a massive change like we’ve seen this year you are presented with a joint marketing opportunity, but that’s not all. There are always opportunities to better educate your clients on a topic where they could benefit from both your and the CPA’s expertise. Here are a few examples.
- Interview your CPA partner regarding any new tax law changes, business taxation tips, or another topic that requires both your expertise and offer to draft the co-authored piece. Post to your website, social media sites and share with theirs too. If they don’t utilize an automated email system, such as Constant Contact, offer to email the article to their list but be sure to do so only when they authorize you.
- Invite your CPA partner to be a guest speaker on an upcoming webinar or at an event. Invite your clients and theirs for you both to benefit from new introductions.
Tax season is the perfect time to seize the opportunity for more introductions! Tools that help CPAs benefit from their introductions, get their clients better organized, help market their services, and are forward thinking will keep you top of mind for more referrals. Your CPA partner is sure to identify opportunities to help their clients reduce their tax liability this year which can include financial services and products you provide.