5 Qualities to Look For in a High-Net-Worth Accountant
Beverly Hills has one of the highest median household incomes in the nation, so it’s no wonder why so many of us rely on professional accountants to manage our finances. The trick is finding the right accountant. There are dozens of reputable accounting firms in Beverly Hills and the Greater Los Angeles area, but not all of them are adept at managing high-net-worth clients. If you’re looking to hire an expert to handle your bookkeeping and taxes, there are a few specific qualities that should never be overlooked. (Image Credit: Rawpixel/Pixabay)
1) CPA Status
A certified public accountant (CPA) is so much more than a bookkeeper and tax expert. They’re a full-fledged financial adviser with experience on both the business and financial sides of the equation. They can assist with important high-net-worth affairs like business planning, retirement planning, and estate planning, and they consult on matters pertaining to business affairs, audits, and other details that a standard accountant may not be equipped to manage.
2) Experience With Wealth Planning and Management
Wealth planning is a complex subdivision that eludes even many seasoned CPAs. It includes factors like structuring and preserving wealth, investment strategy, and business succession planning. Because your wealth is always vulnerable to business interests, financial management, and the state of the economy, you need an expert who’s equipped at helping you weather those storms and grow your net worth for yourself and future generations.
3) A Long-Standing Reputation
When you take on an accountant, you’re entrusting your most sensitive financial information to them. This makes anyone vulnerable, but high-net-worth individuals should be especially cautious. Unscrupulous accountants can cause long-term harm, exposing you to possible fraud, embezzlement, and tax liability. When choosing a CPA, always research the company. Look for firms with over a decade in business, and read their online reviews. See what other high earners are saying about them. You may also ask for referrals from people you know and trust.
4) Transparency and Discretion
When interviewing potential CPAs, inquire about their communication and security methods. Most importantly, you want to ensure that:
- You always have access to your financial information.
- You always know what your firm is doing on your behalf.
- Your data is kept in the strictest confidence and never processed through third-party or international organizations.
Many outsourced accounting services are using secure, cloud-based software to manage finances and generate reports. The benefit is that you can access this information at any time and receive instant updates about the latest activity. A reputable firm should also be available to chat on short notice.
5) A Small to Modest Client List
When it comes to managing a high net worth, attention to detail is paramount. With that in mind, you need to work with a CPA who can dedicate the necessary time to your account. Be cautious about any accountant who boasts about their massive client list, and don’t be afraid to ask your prospective accountant how many people they work with. CPAs with large client lists usually employ cookie-cutter tactics, outsource some of their work, or take shortcuts, and all of those things are bad news.
Always Do Your Research
Finally, it should go without saying, but you want to make sure you work with a firm that has extensive experience and a proven track record with high-net-worth individuals. They may have exceptional credentials, but if they don’t have solid testimonials, you’re gambling with your fortune.
As long as you do your due diligence, you should have no trouble finding a suitable firm to manage your money. When you know your fortune is in good hands, the peace of mind alone is worth the cost.