A practical guide for accountants on how to develop “family office” services


It is no secret that digitalisation is seriously challenging the accounting profession. In a few years, revenues from data entry and "simple" account management will no longer be valued in the same way, nor will they be sufficient to maintain a flourishing business. It is high time for accountants to reinvent themselves and lay the foundations for new sources of revenue if they want to ensure the future of their business.

Luckily, accountants have more than one string to their bow to not only face these challenges, but come out of them even stronger. One such solution is to develop family office services, which will allow them to generate new revenues and further consolidate their client relationships.

There are many reasons why accountants are well-positioned to start offering family office services

Accountants generally have a large private and professional client base. Often, their best clients already turn to them for advice that goes beyond the traditional scope of their profession: from filing private tax returns and optimising professional income to transferring companies. Frequently, accountants give this advice as an add-on to their services, without packaging it into a specific offering. However, they would be able to diversify their business activities and thus overcome the current challenges they face, only by formalising their approach and turning this additional advice into real "family office services".

The reasons why they are well-positioned to develop those services relatively easily are many.

1. Privileged relationship of trust with the client

Although accountants generally have a vast client base, they tend to maintain a very personal and close relationship of trust with their best ones. Just because they often go beyond simply managing their accounts, but also advise on personal wealth, retirement organisation and even wealth transfer, accountants typically have a deep knowledge of their clients on a personal and professional level. They are, in a way, one of the general counsels of a family. Therefore, the nature of the relationship between accountants and their clients can often be compared to that of a notary or even a family doctor.

2. Holistic knowledge of the client

As a consequence, accountants tend to have a very extensive and global knowledge of their best clients that goes beyond their professional lives. They know their clients’ families, income and assets, especially if they they take care of matters like filing private tax returns.

3. Recognised as independent professionals

In addition, since they sell advice and services and not products, accountants are considered independent and “non-conflicted”. They are ideally positioned to independently and objectively provide the best global wealth advice to their clients.

4. Estate planning knowledge and skills

Since accountants already tend to address issues beyond their traditional framework, they generally already have developed extensive skills to assist their clients in achieving their wealth objectives. Internal skills are often not lacking to start offering global wealth advice and, if knowledge is still needed on a specific topic, they can easily outsource those issues to external experts who can cover them. In other words, if accountants have the knowledge internally, developing family office services allows them to value it. If they don't have the knowledge internally, they can call on the expertise of trusted partners. Yet in all cases, the accountants remain the central managers of their clients’ asset information. They are, as it were, the conductors of their clients’ wealth. They collect all the needed information internally or externally and turn it into music: successful and solid wealth advice.

On top, an economic context that values holistic advice more than ever

On top of those characteristics inherent in the accountants themselves, the current economic context also favours them to develop global wealth services. The crises of recent years have indeed brought major fluctuations in the market, making investing more and more uncertain and achieving high returns increasingly difficult. As a result, people are more cautious about investing their money and are more inclined to bet on insuring, consolidating and transferring their wealth than on increasing it by investing. It is this context of fluctuating markets and people that want to secure their wealth that today creates a favourable climate for accountants to assist their clients with global wealth management advice on the organisation, structuring and transfer of their assets.

How do we help you to start your family office services?

By offering a turnkey wealth planning platform that allows you to quickly develop digital holistic wealth management advice for your best clients.

Understand your clients' wealth inside out

Our technology consists of a white-label client and advisor interface that can be fully integrated into your website:

All of your clients' wealth data is stored and structured in organised data inventories.

Both you and your clients can digitally consult and edit the private and professional wealth information at any time.

From graphs, organisation charts and balance sheets to asset overviews and documents: your clients' wealth data is presented in different, intelligible ways.

Serve your clients with the right solutions

Your clients' wealth databases are directly connected to planning tools that allow you to seamlessly process the information and provide the most appropriate advice at the right time:

A financial planning tool helps you to monitor the evolution of your clients’ assets and define the actions that will steer their future in the right direction.

With an inheritance tax simulator, you discover how to optimize your clients’ inheritances, how best to distribute their assets among their heirs, and how to reduce taxes.

A reporting tool allows you to share the results of your simulations and calculations, as well as balance sheets, advice, insights, etc. with your clients in comprehensive wealth reports.

Follow up your clients on a continuous basis

The wealth interface is where you and your clients meet and serves as a real basis for discussion.

Monitor your clients’ assets, objectives, wealth evolution etc. on an ongoing basis.

You can work on the same information base with your client and both get a clear overview on the wealth objectives you want to reach.

In a few clicks, you create beautiful wealth reports that exactly meet your clients’ information needs.

Fast and easy to kick-start

We developed a proven methodology to help you implement our solution into your offer, so you can start offering global wealth advice quickly and easily. Our teams accompany you to integrate our solution from a strategic, operational and IT point of view.

1. Analysis

  • Analysing the current situation;
  • Defining the desired situation;
  • Defining the strategy: target group, pricing policy, etc. ;
  • Defining roles and user scenarios.

2. Operational execution

  • Training the employees to use the platform;
  • Integrating the platform into the existing information and data systems of the organisation;
  • Developing commercial support material.

3. Commercial Launch

  • Defining the commercial action plan;
  • Launching the platform into the service offer of the organisation.

For what result?

Several accountancy firms are already innovating with our wealth planning platform. Discover how they developed global family office services with our technology and how it has changed their business.

When one of my clients deceased, we had to provide a complete statement of his assets. Thanks to Abbove, we were able to deliver this immediately. Before, this would have taken us days of work.

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