How to Become a Conscious Financial Advisor

Gusto Editors

Do you know how to serve your clients effectively as a conscious financial advisor?

As an accountant, you can offer your clients valuable insights into their finances that can help them improve their businesses, but advising your clients takes more than financial knowledge. You need to understand how your clients view money in order to help them optimize their businesses. 

Here at Gusto, we aim to equip accountants with exceptional tools for helping their clients and expanding their firms. That’s why Gusto, along with our partners at CPA Academy, presented an informative webinar about how you can become a conscious financial advisor. 

Our webinar titled “Becoming a Conscious Advisor: The Emotional Impact of Money” featured the consulting expertise of actualization coach and non-practicing CPA, Amber Setter, and CPA and consultant, Robina Bennion

This article is Part Two of this webinar series, but you can read Part One to learn about how individuals view money and how you can improve your relationship with money. You can also watch the entire webinar here.  

This article will teach you a great deal of invaluable material for becoming a conscious financial advisor, including work patterns, money types, and how to improve your work environment. 

Understanding your work pattern as a financial advisor

A critical part of working as an effective financial advisor is bringing consciousness to your work patterns. You need to understand your work patterns to enhance your ability to work with others, including clients and your accounting team. Robina described her own work patterns: 

“For me as a CPA, when busy season comes, the way that I show up … [is] I dive into busy season, and I want to serve my clients, and I … [bring out] the workaholic in me. … That is partly driven by some of my life events. I can go back and look at that and see how that filters through.”

Robina Bennion

Different events and circumstances that you experience throughout your life can shape your work patterns. For CPAs, it’s common to work excessively during certain months out of the year because of tax season, which can shape your work patterns. You need to be aware of your work patterns to improve your ability to serve and advise your clients. 

Male remote accountant working on a client's taxes.

Additionally, understanding your work patterns will help you navigate unconventional times. For example, when individuals and businesses had to work remotely, accountants had to adjust their work patterns to address the new working conditions. Robina observed that accountants can gain perspective on how they work and do business when their work patterns are disrupted: 

“If you’re not moving at the normal pace that you normally do, it’s okay. Just take a step back. … Maybe this will give you a new perspective on how you evaluate the way that you do business.”

Robina Bennion

If your work pattern is disrupted, you can gain valuable insights into how you work and how you do business. Bringing consciousness to your work pattern will help you improve your ability to work with others so that you can build effective professional relationships with your accounting team and clients. 

Become a more conscious advisor by evaluating money type

In addition to bringing awareness to your work patterns, you should also understand different money types when advising your clients. Money types are different types of patterns and behaviors your clients adopt that relate to money. When it comes to making financial decisions, not everyone works in the same way. Your clients develop different conscious and unconscious beliefs surrounding money throughout their lives, and you should advise them based on their beliefs: 

“If I give them too much information, are they going to shut down? Do they like a lot of information? Are they willing to take risks? Then we dive into it deeper, and we get into their history and their life.”

Robina Bennion

People develop different beliefs around money from a young age, and, whether they realize it or not, their beliefs significantly impact their financial decisions. You can’t learn everything about client’s financial beliefs and money type, but you can know whether they prefer receiving a great deal of information before making a financial decision or if they prefer to obtain financial details slowly before making a decision: 

“Where it is valuable is if you know that your client is somebody who shuts down with a lot of information, you know that you need to give it to them in pieces. On the flip side, if … you know that I’m one of those people that in order to make a decision, I need a bunch of information, then you know that you need to give me as much information as possible because I want to be well informed and make the decision.”

Robina Bennion 

When striving to become an effective financial advisor, you need to be willing to meet the individual needs of your clients. You may have a money type that is different from your client, but you can adjust your method of delivering financial guidance to suit their needs and improve their business: 

“If you’re aware of your client’s money type, you actually can work with them … [and] help them overcome some of their own fears and obstacles to their success in their own business.”

Robina Bennion

Discussing your client’s money type will also help you understand their work patterns. Having insights into their work patterns and money type will improve your ability to advise them: 

“You can see those work patterns emerge when you link them to the money types. … It is just a really powerful tool when you’re engaging with your clients and having conversations to help them move into being more confident in what they’re doing.”

Robina Bennion

Gaining a better understanding of your clients can help you become a better financial advisor. You need to bring consciousness to your client’s money type and work patterns. Additionally, your clients have different preferences when it comes to taking financial risks. Work with your client’s preferences so you can help them improve their business and financial situation.  

Female accountant consciously advising a client.

Creating an effective work environment

In addition to understanding your client’s money type and work patterns, you can also learn about your co-workers’ money types and work patterns to improve your firm. You can evaluate the discrepancies between yourself and other accountants in order to understand others’ perspectives and create a more positive work environment. Amber described the combination of working with different work patterns and money types as “designing alliances:”

“Designing alliances is all about, ‘How do you get people on the same page so you understand [someone else’s] perspective?’ … and having some alignment.” 

Amber Setter

You can design alliances to improve your firm’s work environment, and you can also use it to optimize your professional relationships with clients. You can design alliances with your clients by engaging with them and proposing questions regarding their goals: 

“You can do this tool with people when you’re working on an engagement letter, [or] you can do this with a client [when] you’re … strategic planning. What do they want to get out of the relationship?”

Amber Setter

You can design alliances with clients and co-workers who have different work patterns and money types to enhance your professional relationships and create a positive work environment. You can also design alliances to establish goals and improve your work culture: 

“You’re going to finesse this based [on] the context of your organization, and your organization might be [asking], ‘What is the culture we want to create? … [What can we do to be] intentional about designing the space?’ Because you’re trying to … design the culture and also [the] division of responsibilities.”

Amber Setter

You can open up a line of communication to establish goals within your firm. You and others within your organization have different strengths based on your work patterns and money types. You can harness your strengths by optimizing your professional relationships so that you can expand your firm and serve your clients better. 

Learn more about becoming a conscious financial advisor

You can learn a great deal about yourself, your clients, and your co-workers by taking the time to evaluate work patterns and money types. When you understand your clients’ money types, you’ll improve your ability to help them reach their financial goals. Additionally, you can design alliances with your clients and the accountants at your firm by gaining perspective into their work patterns and money types so that you can optimize your professional relationships and create an effective work environment

If you want to learn more about becoming a conscious financial advisor, read Part One of this webinar article series. You can also watch the full webinar here

Navigating the world of financial advising can be challenging, but you can improve your firm’s ability to serve and advise your clients by signing up for Gusto. When you partner with Gusto, you gain access to our people-based platform that makes payroll and benefits incredibly simple. We automatically file and send payroll taxes for businesses with up to 100 employees, and we also offer integrated health insurance and 401ks. If you’re ready to optimize your ability to serve your clients and expand your firm, sign up for Gusto today.

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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