How is your financial health? Do you get full value from your accountant?

Make sure you take advantage of all his/her knowledge and experience. When you get your tax return done this year, ask your accountant for a full financial check-up. Your accountant should be able to assist you in all facets of your financial well-being including retirement planning, wealth creation, insurance advice, mortgages and interest rates.

You will find that many accountants, as well as being skilled at helping you to complete your tax return, are also highly skilled in many other financial disciplines. They can offer you useful advice, whether you are a newly-wed buying your first house or an executive about to retire.

In these days of increasing sophistication, it is almost mandatory to have an independent financial adviser involved in many of your financial decisions. Accountants are in the best position to offer the broad spectrum of advice whether it is in relation to superannuation, insurance or taxation as they are dealing with these issues on a daily basis.

An ongoing relationship with the one adviser also has many benefits in that the adviser will have complete knowledge of your financial affairs and will therefore be able to offer advice on all facets of your financial life. In addition, an account should have a successful taxation practice and does not have to rely on high commissions to maintain income.

A good reason for including an adviser in your financial decision-making is that they may save you many thousands of dollars which makes their fees extremely cost-effective.

A financial check-up will generally consider whether you are saving enough for retirement, whether the savings you have are invested in the appropriate manner to achieve your goals. Estate planning will also be covered in order to ensure that your will is current and appropriate. An adviser will look at your mortgage to ensure that the type of loan and repayment schedule is appropriate.

Life and income insurance will also be reviewed to ensure that your family has adequate protection in the event of death or ill-health.

All of these issues should be discussed at least on an annual basis with your accountant — and this is especially appropriate at tax time. If your account does not discuss these issues with you} find one that will, as these aspects of our lives are becoming extremely complex and it is necessary to have access to an adviser who will deal with all your financial affairs and who can offer advice in all of these areas.

When choosing an accountant look for one who is professionally qualified and a member of the CPA/ACA. If you want your account to look after your complete financial affairs, then he should also be legally authorized to offer financial planning. This will usually mean that the accountant will be either a licensed securities dealer, investment adviser or authorized representative of a license holder. This license should be unrestricted and will therefore allow your accountant to advise on and place a full range of investments for you.

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