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What "Tax-Focused" Means To A Financial Advisor

ACP Insights is a webinar series that features ACP member advisors. The series provides a platform for members to share their ACP experiences with prospective members and other interested parties. We hope that hearing from our members will help you decide if the ACP methodology of fee-only comprehensive planning is right for you.

In a recent episode, we spoke with Zach Teutsch, owner of Values Added Financial. Zach is coming up on the two-year anniversary of his business. He has taken some time to reflect on his journey becoming an ACP-certified member, along with how he’s successfully incorporated ACP’s tax focus in his practice.

For ACP-certified financial advisors, tax planning is an integral part of our financial planning process.

ACP and Values Added Financial

Zach launched Values Added Financial in the summer of 2017. The vast majority of the practice’s revenue comes from recurring annual retainers, a typical fee structure of many ACP advisors.

While Values Added Financial doesn’t offer tax preparation services, they still reap benefits from a tax focus. As Zach emphasizes, “It’s an incredibly powerful part of running a successful business to really understand the relevant tax issues.” Values Added Financial works with many clients where tax planning skills are advantageous, like small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Since tax planning is forward-looking, they can use tax knowledge to help improve client outcomes. The evidence shows that while it’s difficult for individuals to beat the market for investment returns, increasing tax-adjusted client returns is reasonably straightforward. Doing so is an easy way to show value to clients and improve their financial outcomes.

According to Zach, “Being part of [the ACP] community has meant that I could learn a huge amount about how to use tax strategies to help clients. [...] I’m a lot more confident that I’ll be able to answer questions because I can talk to somebody in the community who has decades of experience.”

The ACP System

The ACP system includes many components that can help new advisors structure their practice, including scripts and talking points, fee calculators, and advice about the client discovery process.

Scripts and Talking Points

ACP has tools you can use to run a financial planning practice. There are scripts, talking points, and sample agendas you can follow to the letter. However, that doesn’t mean you have to adopt every aspect—you can tailor it to fit your particular niche.

By having an entire system available, from estate planning to insurance planning to managing investments and more, new advisors can strategically decide where they want to grow and where they want to innovate.

Fee Calculator

ACP also has a fee calculator that helps you determine how much to charge a client based on complexity factors like income and investments. As a result of the fee calculator, ACP firms tend to have a much higher average revenue per client and serve those clients much more impactfully.

Client Discovery Process

ACP also offers a successful program for how to approach a discovery meeting for new potential clients. According to Zach, using ACP’s discovery meeting process “really increases our close rate and means that we’re successful in helping clients see the value even if the price is a little bit higher.” It also helps drive a high revenue per client, enabling the practice to give clients a personal service.

The ACP Success Program

Another component of ACP membership is access to the ACP success program, which includes online self study modules and written materials, mentorship with established advisors, and monthly calls to ask questions and solicit advice.

Self Study Modules and Written Materials

The ACP success program offers self study modules and written material, along with webinars and quizzes to help you learn the ACP system. These lessons give new planners practical knowledge about how to be a financial planner.

Mentorship and Advice

New ACP members are assigned a mentor to help them think through some of their practice’s strategic and operational questions. Mentors really care about your success and want your firm to get off to a great start. There are even regular calls hosted by successful ACP advisors where new advisors can ask questions and look for advice.

According to Zach, the “ACP Success Program helped me develop fundamental, foundational knowledge that let me get started and serve clients.”

The ACP Braintrust

One of the nice things about ACP is that there are about 185 members, which means you can get to know many ACP members and build a sense of community with your peers. Expert advisors are comfortable sharing questions with colleagues and people who have profound experience and knowledge and are willing to take the extra step to help out.

The ACP Advantage

As a result of his ACP membership, Zach shares that “I can take the care to go broadly and deeply with each client in a way that’s meaningful to them.” In addition to serving clients better, ACP membership also allows him to build a sustainable business and “be a part of a community that’s personally as well as professionally meaningful.”

If you’re interested in joining ACP, schedule a call with us today to learn more!