what type of advisor do I need?

taragirlJanuary 1, 2008

I know there are all sorts of financial advisors -- I'm looking for someone who can help us file our taxes (which will be more complicated this year), advise me on financial aspects of starting a business, and maybe even offer insight about buying land and construction loans and mortgages. Can I get this advice all rolled into one person? If so, what is his/her job title, and where do I find him/her?

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lucy

A CPA (chartered accountant). Look up 'Accountants' and they should list their degree (CPA) after their name - an 'unchartered' one may only be a bookkeeper with an attitude, some extra courses (but not enough), or an inability to pass the CPA exams. But that's who you need.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 6:46AM
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jkom51

agree with lucy: you need a tax advisor, preferably a CPA. You can ask during the prelim interview or initial phone call if they specialize in working with small businesses.

Don't expect them to know real estate law, however. For that you will need a RE attorney. But a CPA can discuss the various tax scenarios regarding RE tax laws with you.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 11:08AM
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dave_donhoff

Hi Taragirl,

I know there are all sorts of financial advisors -- I'm looking for someone who can help us file our taxes (which will be more complicated this year), advise me on financial aspects of starting a business, and maybe even offer insight about buying land and construction loans and mortgages. Can I get this advice all rolled into one person? If so, what is his/her job title, and where do I find him/her?

You're extremely unlikely to find any "Jack-Of-All-Professions" (and if you did find any to claim to be so, I would advise grabbing your wallet tight & backing away as quickly as possible...)

Tax planning & filing = CPA (or tax attorney)
Business books = small business bookkeeper (not typically a CPA's baileywick,)
Buying land = high-end realtor,
Construction loans & mortgages = high-end loan broker,

Very very very few "asset & securities" professionals (people who sell & manage stocks, mutuals, etc. etc.) are knowledgeable at all about debt-versus-leverage and the best-practice structuring of them. Similarly, the "stock & investment" professionals generally ignore strategic aspects of real estate (if they don't actually advise you to sell yours & move your money into their stock accounts.)

You *may* ultimately search and find a "Lead Advisor" who you find highly-connected and trustworthy to help be your "quarterback on the field" (with you being the team owner/manager) to know which plays to run, which specialists to hand off the ball to (and when,) and how to structure for defense (risk avoidance) as well as offense (investment growth.) Such an lead advisor "quarterback" could come from ANY position... the most critical aspects you'll want in this professional is;

A) Deep expertise in their own field (as that will obviously serve YOU, but also will be critical in their respect from other professionals in ancillary fields,)
B) Broad connections amongst highly varied fields,
C) Balanced perspectives (able to serve clients from the CLIENT'S preferences (i.e. real estate rather than stocks, or insurance versus diversification, or the reverse, etc. etc.)

*DO* be careful of placing too much weight on any certifications or distinctions... they have their place at the initial weeding of potential advisors... but they're pretty much only good for elimination purposes, and useless selection purposes. (I.E. from a large list of possibles, you may eliminate or handicap those who DO NOT have an advanced certification in their field... but it is unwise to make your final DECIDING SELECTION from the reduced list based on who has initials and plaques and certificates. In the end, all these really promise is that the recipient paid their fees and succeeded (at best) on a potentially slam-dunk quiz (if that.)

Hope that helps!
Dave Donhoff
Strategic Equity & Mortgage Planner

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 1:00PM
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joyfulguy

Do you know some shrewd folks who've been doing the stuff that you plan to do?

Or do you know some folks who are knowledgeable in those fields, who may know such people?

You want people who know their onions ... and are honest, so will advise you and treat your affairs with integrity.

Maybe some of your circle of friends or acquaintances have knowledge of such people.

If you have a connection with a religious enterprise, some of the folks there may be able to offer help...

... but one needs to be prudent in evaluating their qualifications and integrity at times, as well.

When some guy in the money business refers to his/her Christian credentials quite a bit ...

... I tend to hang on to my wallet.

Just call me a cynical old man, I guess.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 3:02PM
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jlhug

I thought CPA stood for Certified Public Accountant.

I agree with what Dave and Joyful said. I don't think it's very likely that you will find one person who can advise you in all of those fields. If someone tells you that they are an expert in taxes, small business start up and accounting, real estate investing and mortgages, take your money and leave.

I will disagree with Dave on the tax person. I don't think you need the expertise and expense of a tax attorney. A CPA that is experienced and stays up to date in taxes will be fine. Not all CPAs do taxes. You might consider finding an EA (enrolled agent) or experienced tax professional. The best way to find a tax advisor is to ask your acquaintances for references.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 3:45PM
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azzalea

I know around here, CPA means Certified Public Accountant.

I, too, would recommend finding several experts. For my taxes, I use a CPA who has his masters in taxation. Some years, my taxes are a little more complicated than others, and I want to make sure they're done correctly, and legally. My accountant--who've I've been using for years, and who has proven himself to be extremely honest and trustworthy--has recommended other professionals who I've used for other aspects of my financial planning.

Seems to me, though, if you find someone who claims to be an expert in all the different disciplines you need, he'd be very unlikely to truly be well-versed in all of them.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 4:40PM
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