The responsibilities of accountants, financial planners and lawyers often overlap. When these parties work together, the results can be harmonious. You can rest assured that you’re receiving thorough, well-researched advice concerning your tax, financial and legal affairs. However, if these parties aren’t communicating, you or your business could suffer. Overlooked tax implications or issues with your estate are just some of the problems that could arise. Communication between everyone who has a hand in your financial affairs is crucial.
Why communication breakdowns occur
It takes time for parties to reach out to one another. This is especially true if the members of your financial team are employed by different firms. Your financial advisor may shift some assets but fail to inform your attorney. Had your attorney known, they would’ve recommended updating your estate plan. The shifting of assets might have tax implications. You might miss out on an important deduction if no one has informed your accountant.
It’s easy to see how communication breakdowns can have a ripple effect. However, you can take some proactive steps to ensure better communication between your financial team.
Often, it’s incumbent on you to encourage communication between members of your financial team. If possible, set up a meeting between everybody. This can be as formal or as informal as you’d like. Whether you’re meeting in the boardroom or over drinks, introducing everyone to one another can help open the lines of communication.
You can also help ensure things aren’t overlooked by bringing relevant documents to meetings with individual members of your team. For example, bring a copy of your tax return to your appointment with your financial advisor. Ask your lawyer and your accountant if shifting certain assets has tax implications for your estate plan, and so on.
Open lines of communication often start with you. Sometimes, this may feel like an unnecessary extra step. However, you can start to make it a habit between members of your financial team. In the end, you will reap the benefits of having your accountant, financial planner and lawyer on the same page.