An Enrolled Agent is a federally authorized tax practitioner who is licensed directly by the U.S. government. Enrolled Agents represent taxpayers on all forms of tax issues, from individual filing needs to audits, collections and appeals.
Enrolled Agent status is the highest tax credential awarded.
While Enrolled Agents specialize explicitly in taxation, CPAs are state licensed and regulated accounting experts who may (or may not) specialize in taxes.
Both professionals are generally well-suited to help with complex tax matters, although this can be highly dependent on the individual professional and their specific knowledge.
Further, both EAs and CPAs have stringent annual continuing education and ethic requirements.
An Accredited Financial Counselor® is certified through the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education® (AFCPE®) which ensures the highest level of knowledge, skill, and integrity of the personal finance profession. An AFC® operates under the fiduciary standard, working in the client’s best interest – always – and never their own. That means no sales tactics or commissions.
An AFC® can help to:
Educate clients in sound financial principles
Assist clients in the process of overcoming their financial indebtedness
Help clients identify and modify ineffective money management behaviors
Guide clients in developing successful strategies to achieve their unique financial goals
Support clients as they work through their financial challenges and opportunities
Help clients develop new perspectives on the dynamics of money in relation to family, friends and individual self-esteem
In short, being bound by a fiduciary duty, or acting as a fiduciary, requires that one must act in the client’s best interest and ensures loyalty to the client. This concept is exceptionally important to understand when it comes to choosing a financial professional. That’s because without a fiduciaryduty, financial professionals are held only to a suitability standard. A suitability standard loosely requires that financial recommendations are “suitable” given the client’s needs.
Example: let’s assume you wanted to purchase insurance or were looking into investment options. A fiduciary would take into consideration all of your needs and options and provide recommendations that they felt were best for you and only you – they wouldn’t be swayed by commissions or utilize high-pressure sales tactics to encourage you one way or another. In contrast, bound only the suitability standard, a financial professional might encourage you to purchase more expensive products with lower returns in order to improve their own bottom line.
As a fiduciary, you can trust that I adhere to the highest ethical requirements that guarantee my client’s best interests remain my top priority.
Absolutely not. KB Financial Planning operates virtually and works with clients around the US and beyond. Our communication will be a combination of email messages, secure messages, phone calls and Zoom calls – or whatever method works best for you. I utilize an online portal that allows us to message and share documents confidentially and securely.
Our initial meeting is an opportunity for us to discuss your financial goals and concerns and get to know one another. This is a no fee, no obligation consultation. Our focus will primarily be to ensure that we’re a good fit for each other and offer the opportunity to address any initial questions you may have about my process.
You are welcome to bring any relevant financial information to this meeting to help me better understand your current situation, however this is not necessary.
The information I collect from you will vary based on the services you require. Generally, I will request copies of previous tax filings, investment and banking documents, a summary of debts and assets, as well as income sources. As a financial professional and fiduciary, your information is kept confidential and is shared and stored securely at all times.
While there are plenty of free resources available to help individuals with filing taxes, financial planning, budgeting, debt reduction and more, if you have come this far then it is likely that you have tried many of these options on your own already without success. One reason for this is because it is hard to be unemotional about your finances.
Even with all the knowledge and skills to reach your financial goals, accomplishing those goals on your own can still be difficult due to the “personal” aspect of personal finance. This is where an empathetic, third party professional can make all the difference.
As a fiduciary, my primary concern will always be to provide you with the most appropriate strategies and advice for your unique situation. I offer more than “just” advice though – I help you separate emotions from logic to provide you with next steps in order to move you forward in your financial journey.
There are certain clients that I am not best suited to work with and will therefore not accept as clients. This includes:
Those currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings
Those with C Corporations or non-profits
Those wanting asset management or investment advice
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Every financial journey is unique. Whether you’re just starting to get serious about your savings or are already well on your way to financial independence, KB Financial Planning wants to help you feel good about your finances so you can build a better financial future.