Alex Sonkin, Founder of the Due Diligence Project ™ (duediligenceproject.com) and the Virtual Family Office (VFO Hub), has organized the largest independent peer-reviewing community of tax professionals in the country, with hundreds of tax-focused CPA firms, law firms, family offices, and specialized thought leaders. Each community member performs independent due diligence on hundreds of sophisticated tax strategies, while also introducing their favorite resources and specialists to the growing community. Alex and his wife Jola, co-founder of GoMacro, Inc. a leading nutrition bar company, are clients of a family office, which give Alex a unique perspective into what family office clients want and need.
Russ Alan Prince: What is the Due Diligence Project and Virtual Family Office Hub?
Alex Sonkin: Why is it that only 18% of Fortune 500 Companies can build tax planning teams that know how to zero out their tax returns? Why can’t the other 82% figure this out?
Sophisticated tax planning due diligence is very difficult and almost impossible to complete successfully. Traditional CPA firms and law firms are limited in time and resources. They don’t know how many pages there are in the constantly changing tax code and they don’t know where to find the very best resources in each area of planning.
The VFO Hub and the Due Diligence Project is a community of hundreds of tax-focused tax professionals, mostly CPAs, tax attorneys, and family office leaders, who have at least 10,000+ hours of experience in audits and tax court; 847 firms participated in the DDP Summit in 2020. Each member contributes by completing their independent due diligence on hundreds of sophisticated tax planning concepts and strategies that are introduced to our global community.
Our network consists of 10+ former tax partners/CPAs from KPMG, Deloitte, PWC, Ernst & Young, and Arthur Anderson, as well as leading, vetted specialists across every area of sophisticated tax and financial planning. This community and our revolutionary independent peer review system continually update our rankings and ratings on each specialist and strategy, similar to how Amazon and Netflix provide their rankings and ratings. As a result, our members gain access to the best-in-class peer-reviewed resources in every area of planning.
Prince: How do family offices, CPA firms, and law firms benefit from the VFO Hub and the Due Diligence Project?
Sonkin: They get access to the highest ROI strategies (net of cost and risk and detailed notes of the due diligence on each strategy. They also get access to the overall community, our members, and our thought leaders including specialized tax attorneys in each subject matter. This enables them to complete their independent peer review in less time with 10X more confidence, and they can bring significant value to their very best clients, and absolutely dominate their competitors. Our community uses our resources to build out supercharged—virtual family offices for each of their favorite clients.
Prince: What do you see as the future of the family office?
Sonkin: The future of the family office is the virtual family office supercharged by best-in-class peer-reviewed resources, which means that these resources are all over the world, but they can be accessed from anywhere at any time through the VFO model. The best specialists and tax attorneys in the world don’t want to be w2 employees for a single-family office and they can be located anywhere on the planet.
Where do we find the best specialists? How do we know they are really the best and are their strategies really compliant with all the current tax laws? It would be nice if each of the specialists and their strategies were independently vetted by hundreds or even thousands of independent, tax-focused CPAs, so we can dramatically increase our level of confidence versus having just one or two CPAs review an idea. Saving time and enhancing confidence is the byproduct of the VFO Model, where the resources and strategies are constantly being updated, vetted, ranked, and rated by the largest community of tax professionals in the world.
RUSS ALAN PRINCE is the Executive Director of Private Wealth magazine (pw-mag.com) and Chief Content Officer for High-Net-Worth Genius (hnwgenius.com). He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs, and select professionals.