Financial planning is often compared to accountancy, in terms of its development as a profession, fee charging and how clients value the services provided to them. In the video, Abraham Okusanya speaks to Simon Weeks, Cofounder and Director of The Wow Company, an accountancy and financial planning firm. Simon has the luxury of running a firm that deliver both services under the same roof.
Simon talked about he and two other friends started out ten years ago to set up the business, going against the received wisdom of how accounting services was delivered at the time by using technology heavily in their business and how they have since grown to over 24 staff members todays.
As far as Simon is concerned, the key difference between accounting and financial planning is how clients value these services. Clients often view accounting as an essential service – often as a compliance requirement and it’s unlikely that clients would DIY their company accounts and tax returns. In contrast, financial planning is often seen as a discretionary service, paid for because clients truly value the service.
In terms of fee charging, Simon’s firm avoided the idea of billable hours right from the start because he believes it leaves clients exposed. Instead, they charge a monthly retainer for a predefined set of services and clients pay a fixed fee for anything else delivered over and above. He sees no reason why financial planning shouldn’t work the same way, although has no particular qualms with charging based on percentage of asset.