Financial Adviser and Accountant: What's the Difference?


When you are looking for professional advice on anything to do with money, knowing who to turn to can be challenging. Should you contact an accountant or a financial adviser or both? The two fields are vastly different in how they can help you. 

What does a financial adviser do?

Financial advisers (also known as financial planners) provide a range of advice to help you at different life stages. Financial advisers can help you:

  • save for a deposit to buy your first home,

  • manage your cash flow,

  • develop a share or investment property portfolio,

  • invest for your children’s future, 

  • manage your debts effectively, 

  • have an appropriate level of insurance to protect your income and your assets,

  • plan for your retirement.

Financial advisers work with you to develop a financial plan based on your individual needs and financial circumstances. Financial planning focuses on the future effects of financial decisions you make today.

It’s a legal requirement for all financial advisers in Australia to be licensed. This licensing requirement helps to protect consumers from receiving financial advice from unqualified advisers. Financial services licences in Australia are issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). ASIC maintains an online register of current financial advisers. 

What does an accountant do?

Accountants are responsible for helping you fulfil your legal obligations by accurately reporting on financial activity each year. 

Accountants provide a range of services, including:

  • providing tax advice and lodging your tax returns (to do this, they need to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board). They can help you to legally minimise the amount of tax you need to pay by maximising your eligible tax deductions and tax rebates.

  • helping you with your financial records and legal reporting requirements if you’re running a business or if you have a self-managed super fund and,

  • taking care of complex tax issues, providing business advice and audits. 

A qualified accountant will be registered with a relevant professional body such as Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Certified Practising Accountants Australia or the Institute of Public Accountants

The bottom line

Financial advisers and accountants can provide you with a range of important services. Make sure that a financial adviser or accountant is appropriately qualified and registered before engaging their services.


Source: Clientcomm library



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