5 takeaways from the 2016 AICPA conference

February 1, 2016 by Brian Sasaki

About the author:

Brian Sasaki

Account executive

Brian started his career working for a large insurance and investment company located in Milwaukee, WI, where he was one of the top financial representative interns in the country.

In January, I got to spend some time at the AICPA Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

It was a great opportunity to learn more about where the industry is headed and show off the financial planning solutions from Advicent at our new booth. I learned a lot at this conference, but I wanted to share my five biggest takeaways from the experience.

1. It was all about the booth.

This was the first conference where we rolled out our new booth, and it was a huge hit. The first thing you saw when you walked in to the exhibit hall was our giant purple lights pointing up at the ceiling like a ‘bat signal.’ Our new booth had it all, from great visuals, style, and appeal, (not to mention some delightful representatives from Advicent). We had a ton of traffic, more than we ever had at conferences before this new booth.

2. Everyone has used NaviPlan at some point in their career, including myself, and we all had our problems with it.

I get it, NaviPlan used to be very complicated and difficult to use. This was the common theme of the conference from advisors that stopped by our booth, and I could not argue with them because it was true. I needed to clarify that in the past we were not really focused on the independent advisors. We had a custom solutions business model that targeted enterprise businesses. The challenge with that model is that it does not scale. About four years ago, we took a different approach and focused our development team on a single out-of-the-box solution that could meet every advisors needs. The NaviPlan we have today is that solution for every advisor, whether you are doing five-minute plans or the detailed planning NaviPlan has always been known for, it will meet every one of your client’s needs.

3. Portals continue to be the most commonly asked for feature.

From the booth traffic to the financial planning software session, client portals were a huge topic this year. We had many current NaviPlan users stop by and ask about the portal we announced last year for NaviPlan. We had a lot of fun showing our current customers and potential customers what we will be releasing this year in terms of the user experience with NaviPlan. This has been a long time coming and if you have not seen it yet, make sure you check out our site to get in contact with us so we can give you a glimpse of what we have coming.

4. Insightful sessions made for a great educational experience for attendees.

My favorite session at the conferences was “Ten Predictions and Future Trends” by Bob Veres. He added a lot of insight to where the industry is heading. One of the highlights from the session include the shift of planning services from analysis to more of an advice and coaching role to achieve the client’s life goals. This is something we are starting to see today already. Veres also talked about how the industry is going digital, and that someday soon you might not ever meet with your clients face-to-face. People will stop coming to your office, and, if you need to meet with them, screen sharing and video chats will take the place of face-to-face meetings. Because of this trend, there will be no more geographical limitations. You will compete with every advisor in the country, and your online presence will be key to having a successful business. An advisor will need to be organically found through Google and your website will need to actually draw in prospects instead of just being there to have one. Your website will need to be an interactive environment with self-discovery, questionnaires, videos, and blogs.

5. CPAs get it.

I had a lot of conversations with CPAs and had many opportunities to learn about their individual businesses and how they approach planning. Michael Kitces, an industry analyst, posted an article during the conference that really captured how CPAs approach planning. The CPAs did not seem to care about how to make products look better, they only cared about accuracy, details, and ease-of-use. Their approach to planning is very consultative and they want to help their clients achieve life goals, not sell a product. At our booth, we got a ton of questions about the cash flow and tax details in our products and the attendees were very pleased to hear about NaviPlan and its capabilities.

Want to learn more about how the changes to NaviPlan® from Advicent can meet all of your client’s needs? Click here to get more information, or call (855) 885-7526 to speak with an Advicent representative.