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Core Principles Of Accounting Firm Elite Wealth Management Practices

“At Integrated Partners, the way we think about accounting firms delivering wealth management expertise is not in line with how most professionals think about it,” says Paul Saganey, Founder and President of Integrated Partners and co-author of Optimizing the Financial Lives of Clients: Harness the Power of an Accounting Firm’s Elite Wealth Management Practice, “For accounting firms that want to provide the highest quality wealth management expertise and an extraordinary experience to clients, there are four core principles that are not in any way malleable or debatable. One, the primary goal of an elite wealth management practice is to help optimize the financial lives of clients. Two, elite wealth management is all about delivering exceptional value. Three, the accountant is always central when working with clients. And, four, elite wealth management is woven into the fabric of the accounting firm.”

Let us take a closer look at these four core principles…

Core Principle #1: The Primary Goal of an Elite Wealth Management Practice is to Help Optimize the Financial Lives of Clients

The goal of an accounting firm’s elite wealth management practice is not to generate more revenues for the firm. It is not that the accounting firm’s elite wealth management practice will not end up providing financial strategies and products for which it will be compensated, but that is not the goal. With elite wealth management, providing financial strategies and products is the way to help optimize the financial lives of clients.

The nature of elite wealth management will likely consistently produce remarkable direct revenues for an accounting firm. By being singularly focused on helping clients optimize their financial lives, an accounting firm’s elite wealth management practice will likely turn out to be exceedingly profitable.

Core Principle #2: Elite Wealth Management is all About Delivering Exceptional Value

Elite wealth management and selling do not mix. Selling entails persuading someone to purchase something; in this case, financial strategies and products. Elite wealth management is about determining the latent needs, wants, aspirations, and concerns of clients. Then, the financial strategies and products that are most appropriate to help clients optimize their lives, are introduced.

Not selling will prove to be one of the most consistently powerful advantages of an accounting firm’s elite wealth management practice. The ability to understand the complexities of the worlds of clients, and use financial strategies and products to help them most effectively optimize their financial lives enables an accounting firm’s elite wealth management practice to add value in ways that make an enormous difference.

Core Principle #3: The Accountant is Always Central When Working with Clients

The success of an accounting firm is a function of the value accountants provide clients, and the quality of the relationships accountants have with those clients. It is commonly recognized that accountants are the most cited trusted professionals by all manner of entrepreneurs, physicians, celebrities, corporate executives, and inheritors. Since accountants have a central place in the financial lives of their clients, it makes perfect sense to maintain—if not expand—these trusted relationships. 

Always, the client is the client of the accountant. The accountant best understands the client and has built a solid relationship based on delivering value. One of the aims of elite wealth management is to further enhance these relationships, often leading to more business and referrals to new high-quality clients for accounting expertise. This is only possible as long as the accountants stay involved. 

When the accountant is involved throughout, there is a much, much higher probability of…

  • Clients optimizing their financial lives
  • Clients are very satisfied with the process and outcomes
  • Business gets done, including producing additional accounting firm revenues
  • New high-quality clients being referred

Core Principle #4: Elite Wealth Management is Woven into the Fabric of the Accounting Firm

Elite wealth management is not a stand-alone practice, nor is it ancillary. To do the best job possible for clients, and get the most benefits for an accounting firm, elite wealth management is integrated into the thinking and philosophy of the accounting firm. It is not an afterthought. It is not something accountants are trying to cross-sell.

The way elite wealth management practices become woven into the fabric of accounting firms is often a combination of education and experience. Education covers a lot of ground, from understanding the difference between wealth management and elite wealth management, to how various financial strategies and products work for clients.

RUSS ALAN PRINCE is the Executive Director of Private Wealth magazine ( and Chief Content Officer for High-Net-Worth Genius ( He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs, and select professionals.


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