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Skills Not Taught In School: A Guide For New Advisors


“Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.”

  • Ann Voskamp

Have you ever heard the saying “practice makes perfect”? In our industry, it’s more like practice makes progress. Our ACP advisors work every day to enhance their clients’ lives and breathe new life into financial planning.

New advisors and career changers alike may be overwhelmed by the breadth of scholarship and practice it takes to find your space in the industry; our ACP community is here to help make that transition a little easier. 

Joining a professional organization is critical to building your expertise, confidence, and niche within financial planning. Today, we are going to talk about a few elements that will help new advisors on their planning journey. 

Information for our blog today comes from our Webinar series, ACP Insights. David Klepeisz, CFP®, EA presented on the crucial role continuing education plays in his professional life and discussed fundamental tenets for advisors just beginning their careers. View the full episode

Why continuing education matters

Nearly every specialist field requires some continuing education, and financial planning is no different. After graduation, new advisors likely need to pursue some additional certification just to do their jobs, let alone further their professional goals. 

Continuing education allows you to dive deeper into the subjects most fascinating to you. If your heart is set on comprehensive planning, obtaining your CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) designation would be an excellent fit. Perhaps you are passionate about the role that tax planning and preparation have on your client’s finances, so you might consider becoming an Enrolled Agent (EA). 

But learning doesn’t stop once you can tack the letters onto your name. While you may have the technical skills to master any test, your interpersonal skills to connect with clients, and business acumen to run your practice will require additional attention. That’s where the ACP Success Program comes in. 

How the ACP Success Program helps new advisors

The ACP Success Program is formal training designed to teach new members the philosophy, strategies, and tools of the ACP System. These tools and resources give advisors the foundation to build profitable practices. 

We know how important continuing education is and we prioritize that in our membership. Our members have found the ACP Success Program sets them up to:

  • Appropriately price their services based on the value provided (customizable fee-calculator).
  • Schedule, run, and structure client meetings. You’ll learn what makes a good client meeting and how to best demonstrate the value you bring throughout each phase of the planning cycle. ACP even provides members with scripts to help them navigate through difficult client conversations like pricing and value. 
  • Adopt a truly comprehensive approach to your practice. This includes everything from taxes, insurance, and investments to goal-setting, wealth building, and life planning.
  • Effectively market your practice. This includes finding your target market, tailoring services and packages, as well as practicing your promotion. 

These elements are simply the tip of the iceberg. David found all of these elements played a vital role in his development as an advisor. One aspect of ACP he finds particularly compelling in his practice is the retainer-based model for pricing services. 

David says that financial planning is fluid. With its constant ebbs and flows, the retainer model gives him space to best serve his clients. When something changes, they simply have to call him, set up a meeting, and he can help them adapt their plan to their current needs. The retainer model incentivizes clients to reach out when they need a change without the fear that it will rack up billable hours or start a new one-time project. 

The retainer model allows David to serve his clients comprehensively and holistically, which is something that he appreciated most about the ACP System.

Find a mentor

For David, one of the most critical aspects of his professional development was cultivating mentor relationships. Mentors can be a wonderful component of your career progression. They can help you navigate challenges in your practice and give you support and advice along the way. 

ACP has a mentorship program because we value the role that mentors play in career advancement. Each new member is assigned a mentor, and many of these relationships continue well after the Success Program is complete. 

Your mentor can also help you network with other professionals and get you involved in the community. Financial planning is a small community, and the more involved you are, the more you will get out of it. 

Get active

Not all learning happens in the classroom. So much of continuing education comes from experiences like volunteering, presentations, conferences, webinars, etc.—anything that promotes active engagement in your area of focus.

David found that getting involved in professional organizations played a significant role in his development as an advisor. Mastering the technical skills is the first step, but the second step is to get out there and put your skills into practice. That might mean volunteering, serving on a board, leading a study session or mastermind group, actively engaging with your mentor, posing and answering questions on group forums, and so much more. 

Joining a professional organization opens you up to a network of advisors who are passionate about similar things. Our community at ACP is one of the most special aspects of our organization. Our advisors truly love the work they do and seek to lift people up and help them advance their careers.

As you can see, there is so much more to education than a pencil and paper (though these are good too). We would love to show you how the ACP community can further your professional goals. Learn more.