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Podcast: Financial planning … the essence of future-readiness

When you think about helping your clients become more future-ready, you’re probably thinking about things like helping them innovate, revamping their business models, taking advantage of new technologies, or finding their next competitive advantage.

You’re probably not thinking about helping them get their finances in order. That’s not future-proofing anybody’s business — that’s just doing what we’ve always done, right?

And yet our guest this week, Lyle Benson, says doing what we’ve always done is, in a way, the essence of being future-ready.

Lyle is president and founder of L.K. Benson & Company in Baltimore, and he’s an MACPA member. He’s also on the forefront of advancing planning services for individuals within the profession; he has served in many roles of various professional organizations over the past 30 years and is the immediate past chair of the AICPA’s PFP Division Executive Committee. He is also a member of the CCH Financial and Estate Planning Advisory Board and co-founder and head of the Athena Study Group.

In this conversation, we cover:

Listen to the show here.

 

Financial planning for the future
Lyle says helping your clients get a grip on their finances — whether it’s through personal financial planning, tax planning, retirement planning, risk management planning, or investment planning — is about the most future-ready service you can offer your clients.

Some might see these things as an afterthought of sorts, or at least not core to the accounting and finance profession. According to Lyle, not only are they core, they’re vital to our profession’s future – and to our clients’ future as well.

Anil Rego, the CEO and founder of Right Horizons, agrees.

”A good financial plan is essential for a secured future,” he writes in Entrepreneur India. “… Today’s generation suffers from a unique problem — longevity risk. Chances are high that all of us will live well past the 70s, but do we have an income today and for tomorrow that will enable us to be financially independent? A financial plan can take care of your today, tomorrow and future.”

These core foundational services that we’ve always provided are more important than ever, for a number of reasons.

First of all, demand for these services is greater than ever. Take tax planning, for example. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is breathing down our necks, and clients want guidance on what the law means for them. Not only that, but our clients are getting older and their expectations are changing; they expect that we’ll help them secure their futures.

But Lyle says becoming a true future-ready advisor for your clients starts with your answers to a few key questions:

In other words, becoming future-ready might be as simple as doing what we’re already doing, but doing it better – and that should be a comforting thought for many accounting and finance professionals.

More resources
If you’re looking for more resources to help you future-proof your services to individuals, you can start by visiting the AICPA’s Planning and Tax Advisory Services web page.

You’ll also find help in the MACPA’s CPE catalog. There’s plenty to learn there about tax reform, estate planning, financial planning, and anything else you need to brush up on.

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