Deciding to come to Russia was easy. More interesting is why an experienced Chartered Accountant/Audit Partner/Finance Director took on the role of a Financial Planner.
Accountancy has changed so much over the past decade or so – because of IT mainly. An increased regulatory environment also played a part. An accountant is no longer just tax returns and audits. So, I decided to embrace the future opportunities available working with clients’ personal financial situation.
As a financial planner and investment adviser, I can provide clients with a more rounded assessment of how they can achieve their life goals – how they can retire early, sail the seven seas, buy their children a property – and this means that I can aid clients and retain their business.
I always wanted to engage on a deeper level and use my skills in a different – more direct – way. I place clients’ goals at the top of their planning, and use technical, numerical and tax knowledge to their advantage.
Nearly UK 400,000 people will be hitting 65 in the next few years. Every one of them is going to need help, and many of them will visit their accountant first. In contrast, here in Russia, there is even more to do. Working directly with individual clients, I prepare a personal finance balance sheet and run through a life-time analysis of cash-flow and tax in a way that kills the fear factor. I open my clients eyes to the range of opportunities available to them for planning their financial future. Fear is replaced with excitement!
I take a holistic view of my clients’ situations and build a full picture of how their personal and business lives coexist. Financial planning is all about understanding their life goals and working out how much wealth is needed to achieve them. Previously as a finance director, I did every day – looking into the future to see where a corporation wants to be and drawing up the best and most efficient route for getting it there. Planning out a road map for a client’s personal goals is no different. I still rely on the same financial modelling skills to create a strategy for my clients to achieve their goals. Then I put my clients in the proper structures, with the best companies, at the best prices so they can realize their plans. I am their designated person forging them new relationships with the specialist financial institutions I’ve recommended to them. That’s what being a trusted adviser is all about.
It’s not enough to be good with numbers and strategy. I push myself to draw out what my clients want from life, what their aspirations and hopes are, so that I can make the numbers pay for those dreams.