What’s the difference between an accountant and a financial advisor? What’s the difference between an accountant and a financial advisor?

15 Jan 2021 | Comments: 0 | Author: Christina Bentley | General

It can be difficult to know where to turn when you’re trying to get a handle on your finances. You may be wondering whether you’d be better off turning to an accountant or a financial advisor. But if something is keeping you up at night, rest assured that there’s a professional out there that can help.

We’ll shed some light on what accountants and financial advisors do and offer helpful tips on how to decide which one is better suited for you.

The similarities

Like solicitors or doctors, advisors and accountants are experts in their field. Their extensive financial education gives them the qualifications they need to manage people’s money.

They can help businesses see whether their growth plans are viable, ensure grandparents leave an inheritance and assist parents in setting up a university fund. While both an accountant and an advisor can help you with your money, knowing how they differ will help you understand how they can help.

Professional woman

What do financial advisors do?

Advisors help people achieve their financial goals. They help everyone from first-time buyers and young families to retirees and investors. Every advisor in the UK has to have the minimum qualifications to practise and they’re regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which protects consumers.

An advisor uses their expertise to guide people on their retirement, investments, savings and money. They can also help with one-off tasks or work on an ongoing basis. Many advisors specialise in areas such as ethical investing, wealth management and financial planning.

Because they’re skilled at seeing ‘the big picture’ when it comes to finances, they can help people avoid pitfalls and make sound investments with their money. Many advisors take a ‘holistic’ approach with their clients. By taking both your personal and financial life into account, they can offer the insight and guidance you need to achieve your short, medium and long-term financial goals.

A financial advisor can help with many tasks such as:

  • Retirement planning
  • Budgeting
  • Making investments
  • Estate tax planning
  • Inheritance tax planning
  • Debt reduction
  • Cash flow modelling
    Calculating bills

    What do accountants do?

    Like advisers, accountants have to pass exams to maintain their qualifications. Day to day, they perform tasks such as bookkeeping, tax preparation and analysing business performance. They may also specialise in areas such as law, financial management or forensic accounting.

    Accountants are adept at staying on top of daily financial transactions and need to keep up-to-date with tax law. They also use their excellent analytical skills to identify potential risks. Their expertise makes them well suited to support businesses, freelancers and contractors.

    An accountant can help with:

  • Tax preparation
  • Auditing
  • Financial forecasting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Writing a business plan

    Accountants can help you discover areas that need attention and potential risks you may face. They’ll also offer feedback on your current business incomings and outgoings. However, unlike financial advisors, they cannot offer advice when it comes to investing your money.

    When to get help from a professional

    Everyone’s financial situation is different. And while financial advisors and accountants can help you manage your money, they cannot make your decisions for you. Taking some time to identify and note all your concerns, goals and aspirations will help you get the most out of their services. Here are a few common situations where speaking to a professional can help.


    After the pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015, the rules changed on what you could do with your pension pot. More freedom, unfortunately, means a lot more complicated decisions to make. A financial advisor can help you understand the options available to you and help ensure your pension pot lasts.


    There are plenty of comparison sites out there, but it may not always be wise to do-it-yourself for such a large purchase. Advisors can save you a great deal of time and money in the long run. They’ll be able to find the best product for your needs and many will also help you complete the application to the lender.


    Whether you need to protect your home or you want a plan B, it can be tricky to compare the endless products out there. An advisor can do the leg work for you – comparing the market, offering guidance on what’s right for your needs and even handling claims on your behalf.


    Even the most confident investor can benefit from speaking to a professional before they invest. A good financial advisor can help you diversify your portfolio to reduce risk and draw up a sound investment plan.

    Woman shaking hand at end of a meeting

    Let us help you connect to a financial advisor

    We help people like you connect to a local financial advisor in their area. We know how stressful money matters can be, so we do the hard work for you. If you have just 60 seconds to spare, we’ll save you time searching for your ideal financial advisor by connecting you to the right one for your circumstances.

    We only work with FCA-authorised financial advisors. Our UK-wide network of partners means we can connect you to a professional, wherever you’re based. Our free service works in three simple steps:

    1. Tell us your postcode – we’ll give you an instant number of how many advisers can help in your area.
    2. Let us know what you need help with – this helps us select the advisor with the right expertise for your needs.
    3. Submit your name and contact details – we’ll pass your details to your FCA-regulated advisor, who will be in touch soon.

    What happens after we connect you to an expert

    Your advisor will get in touch for a quick chat about your reasons for seeking advice. If they think they can help, they’ll invite you for a free, no-obligation consultation.

    This meeting usually lasts around an hour and is a good opportunity for both you and your advisor to get to know each other. They’ll ask you about your financial goals and circumstances, explain their fees and services, and whether they can help.

    If you’re happy to take their advice, your adviser will carry out a ‘fact find’ about you. This gives them a full snapshot of your financial situation, attitude to risk and goals, so they can offer you bespoke recommendations.

    Think an advisor can help?

    Whatever your goals or circumstances, our network of financial adviser partners has the expertise and knowledge to help you find peace of mind.

    Connect to an expert and book your free no-obligation consultation today! Give us a call on 0800 008 6169 or enter your details here to get started.

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