It is well-known that certified public accountants (CPAs) can be great partners for advisors to team up with in order to deliver comprehensive financial advice to clients. Additionally, CPAs may be looking for knowledgeable financial advisors to refer to their other clients. With tax season right around the corner (partnership and S-corp returns are due March 15th and corporate and personal tax returns are due April 17th)* the timing is perfect to develop a plan to work better with CPAs.

So what are some ways that you can enhance these mutually-beneficial relationships? Recently Oeschli.com published an article, “5 Astute Questions to Ask a Client’s CPA” that we feel contains some excellent advice.

The Oechsli Institute recommends financial advisors wait until shortly after tax season is over, then extend an offer to sit down with CPAs face-to-face. Invite them to coffee or lunch, framed around a “mini-celebration”—your treat for all your mutual hard work to get through tax season. Don’t stay in the background—these CPAs are your peers and trained professionals serving mutual clients.

It’s recommended that some form or variation of the following five questions be asked in person to open the doors to better communication:

  1.  Is our office getting you all the reports and paperwork you need in a timely manner to meet IRS deadlines? Is there anything we can do better?
  2. Has [Joe Smith/mutual client] given you a copy of their financial plan? (If so, let them know that you do ongoing reviews, and ask them if they have any suggestions.)
  3. What have your clients been asking you in today’s current economic climate?
  4. What are some common mistakes / misconceptions you’ve seen financial advisors make / have regarding taxes?
  5. From your perspective, who are the best financial advisors in this area, and why?

These questions are designed to be open-ended and yet specific enough to get your lunch or coffee date thinking and sharing professional tips and inside information. The goal is to let your clients’ CPAs know that you are interested in them and their specific point of view.

Treating CPAs to an informal face-to-face, then creating an atmosphere of mutual sharing is a great way to show that you are willing to go the extra mile. It shows that you value learning from your peers and becoming better at what you do. It show that you are a true team player, and could be a viable and valuable referral alliance partner.

*Some more tax deadlines for 2017 can be found here, it’s helpful to know the deadlines CPAs face and why they need timely information from you.

Read the full article link.