Planners and accountants will merge

There will be an increasing trend of accounting and financial planning disciplines merging under a professional, holistic advice firm structure where they are interdependent and will form closer alliances, according to a financial services executive.

Connect Financial Service Brokers (Connect) chief executive, Paul Tynan, suggested that an alliance between the two professions would provide more succession and exit opportunities for the principals, while also attracting university graduates and superior staff to the broader advice businesses.

"This trend will be driven by competition, long-term business sustainability, demand by clients, and delivered via a greater reliance on technology and advances in communication and engagement processes," Tynan said, while observing that accounting businesses had approached his firm to grow their offering with financial planning.

However, he warned that despite the drivers for an alliance, it would fail if the two groups were not a cultural fit.

"Too much energy has and is being expended on the negatives of FOFA [Future of Financial Advice] / LIF [Life Insurance Framework] for planners and the expiration of the SMSF exemption for accountants on 1 July," Tynan said.  

"The reality is the future is very bright for those accountants and planners that seize the moment and embrace this new professional advice era."

Tynan also noted there were still more buyers than sellers for accounting and financial businesses nationally, trend that has continued for the past five  years.  

He said that while there were many potential sellers of accounting businesses, the owners lacked confidence and knowledge on how to begin the sale or merger process.

"This has immense ramifications for SMEs as they rely so heavily on accountants for technical assistance but they lack the same competency in the provision of succession planning advice," Tynan said.

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