Accountants worry that advice they give goes beyond skillset

ACCOUNTANTS are becoming increasingly worried about exceeding their professional expertise due to the growing demand for personal financial advice, new research has found.

Just over a third (36%) of practitioners have experienced a spike in demand for personal finance advice in the past 12 months, with inheritance planning one of the most requested topics from clients, lending adviser Bower Private Clients has discovered.

The firm conducted a survey with 105 accountants and found that the demand is a cause of concern for 31% of them, worrying that the advice they give goes beyond their skill set.

As a result of the demand, 45% of accountants expect their work with IFAs to increase over the next two years, citing changes to pension rules as major contributor.

The biggest request is a need for inheritance planning, with 72% of accountants labelling it as a ‘major area’; while a growing client base (59%) and an increase in property transactions among clients (31%) were other major reasons.

Earlier this month law firm Collyer Bristow estimated that between 2015 and 2016, taxpayers will be saving up to £35m using inheritance tax relief, something many accountants will be advising their clients on.

“It’s no wonder that accountants are seeing clients increasingly enquiring about financial planning given the recent changes in pensions, high property prices and the complex nature of estate planning,” said Andrea Rozario, chief corporate officer at Bower Private Clients.

“The wealth tied up in homes is a potential source of retirement funding but people need to be properly advised.

“Given more demand for advice in what is an increasingly complex market, it is very important for accountants to have access to trusted partners. Advisers recognise that property wealth can offer a variety of solutions for their clients,” continued Rozario.

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