Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I offer Financial Services to my Clients?
Adding financial services will enable you to significantly increase firm revenue even as the growth in income from traditional accounting services is slowing. Additionally, as the financial services industry gravitates toward the "one-stop shopping" format, your competition is offering comprehensive financial services in addition to tax and accounting services. Expanding your firm's range of services enables you to meet this competitive threat without adding significant overhead.
What will my Clients think if I begin offering these services?
The vast majority of your clients will respond enthusiastically to the knowledge that they now have a single source, you, for the coordination of all their financial services needs. As your clients' most trusted advisor, you are already being asked for advice in these areas. By offering an even greater range of services in the same consultative, professional manner that you have always employed, client satisfaction, retention and profitability will all be enhanced.
Will this create an ethical or regulatory conflict with my status as a professional?
AICPA Rules of Conduct were amended in 1989 to allow CPA's to accept contingent fees and commissions. Since that time, most states have changed their rules to match the AICPA standards. Furthermore, because Signature Advisors Group has no minimum production requirements and offers no proprietary products, you are free to remain unbiased and objective, offering your clients a range of choices to meet all of their financial services needs. From a practical point of view, don't you really think your client's interests will be better served working with you, rather than with transaction-based advisors whose goal is to "make the sale" and move on to the next client?
What types of services and products will I be able to offer my Clients?
As soon as you have satisfied your licensing requirements, which generally are relatively modest, you will be able to offer your clients a complete portfolio of investment products and services, business and personal insurance, employee benefit plans, comprehensive personal financial planning and a variety of business consulting services.
How will I find the time to learn about and provide all of these products and services? My schedule is already full.
Our training programs qualify for Continuing Professional Education credits. The time you will spend in training is already being spent each year as a requirement of your profession. Additionally, our directors and staff will be with you every step of the way. This enables you to delegate as many engagement related responsibilities as you desire in response to the demands of your practice, lifestyle and experience level.
What type of financial commitment is required and how long will it take to become profitable?
New affiliates generally offer these services without adding any staff. As a result, the initial financial requirements are very modest. Depending upon your state, the cost of fully licensing one individual is typically less than $4,500. This includes all appointment fees, exam registrations, training materials, fidelity bonds, etc. Errors and omissions insurance will be required. E&O and license renewals are approximately $3,500 annually.
Many affiliates recoup their entire initial investment on their very first engagement within 90 - 120 days of being licensed. Furthermore, the Signature Advisors Group will fully refund an affiliate's licensing costs if the affiliate does not earn at least that much in the first calendar year and does not wish to continue to offer these services. So really, there is no risk at all.
The long-term potential depends upon the effort of the affiliate and the nature of his or her practice. Some affiliates earn $50,000 or more in their first year and most affiliates can reach this level within three to five years, with reasonable effort.
How long does it take to become licensed?
Although this can vary somewhat depending upon the availability of testing facilities and the response time of regulators in your state, most affiliates can become fully licensed within 60 - 90 days.
What will happen to the referral relationships I currently have with local investment and insurance brokers?
By offering comprehensive financial services, you will no longer be forced to refer this business to others. In many engagements, the financial services revenue exceeds the tax and accounting revenue by a ratio of from 5 - 20 to 1! Although the referrals you receive from insurance and investment salespeople will decrease, the increased profitability and client referrals you enjoy will more than offset this. Furthermore, many of these brokers will soon be offering tax and accounting services through the companies they represent, if they are not doing so already.
My firm has been approached by a number of the local brokers as well as several national firms who claim to provide the same type of services. Why should I select Signature Advisors Group over these other providers?
There are a number of reasons, and they are clear when you compare the Signature Advisors Group to any other service provider. The entire focus of our business is providing comprehensive financial services support, training and resources to the tax and accounting community. The following points summarize why the Signature Advisors Group is the pre-eminent service provider in our industry.
- Client Control - Our tax and accounting affiliates own their client relationships. Our affiliates control every aspect of each engagement. Not only is every client communication subject to their approval, but each service and provider is subject to the same standard. In this way, our affiliates are free to seek out other professional relationships which they feel will benefit their clients, if they wish. Our "un-bundled" portfolio of services is unique. Furthermore, if, at any time, an affiliate chooses to transfer their clients to another service provider, we will facilitate the transfer to the greatest extent possible. No one else has the confidence to make this pledge.
- Portfolio of Products and Services - The diversity of our offerings is unmatched in the financial services industry. No other service provider allows you to offer the range of investments, insurance, planning, employee benefit and consultative services as Signature Advisors Group. Furthermore, our services are provided on a pick and choose basis, giving you unmatched flexibility. In addition, we have no proprietary products whatsoever and we impose no revenue or production minimums on our affiliates.
- Support Services - Our process gives our affiliates the opportunity to meet every client need regardless of the complexity of the engagement. Our affiliates determine the amount of support they require on a case by case basis. Furthermore, our team approach provides affiliates with access to a level of expertise and field support that local firms and product-specific providers cannot match.
- Compensation - Signature Advisors Group is a true brokerage and consulting company. We have negotiated contracts on a national basis; and have no particular bias toward any specific type of product, service or provider. Our affiliates enjoy unequaled revenue potential through the full range of financial services, while maintaining complete objectivity on every client engagement because we offer top producer compensation in every element of financial services without the imposition of sales quotas of any kind.
- Continuity - Signature Advisors Group is an organization comprised of a team of financial service professionals. If one of our Regional Directors or Managers should die or retire, another team member will step in to assure that our affiliates and their clients continue to receive the same service and support they expect without interruption.