Conducting year-end planning with clients

Dec 15, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

While he anxiously awaits word on whether he passed the certified financial planner exam, Clark Harris is focused on helping clients complete their year-end planning.

He's guiding clients on making charitable donations and contributing to their Roth individual retirement accounts for 2013. Many of these tasks involve coordinating with clients' accounting professionals to determine the equitable amounts that should be going into such accounts for the year.

“I've been working a lot with CPAs regarding year-end planning for many of our clients and tightening things up before the end of the year,” Mr. Harris said. “We coordinate with CPAs because on our end, we view everything, while the CPA can only see the one item.”

Mr. Harris, 26, began working at The Insight Group Inc. in Salt Lake City as a planning specialist immediately after his December 2012 graduation from Utah Valley University's personal-financial-planning program.

ANNUAL REVIEW FOLLOW UP

During clients' annual reviews early this year, Mr. Harris helped develop recommendations for them to complete by the end of 2013 and has spent the last few months following up with clients on those items.

Most clients are responsive to Mr. Harris' reminders and calls, he said. Some who are especially busy are much more likely to come in Dec. 31 to fund their Roth, he said.

His own greatest accomplishment was taking the CFP exam in November. After many early-morning sessions studying before the workday began, Mr. Harris said he felt ready to take the two-day exam, though he found it to be a little more ethics-based than he expected.

“It was definitely challenging,” Mr. Harris said. “It feels good to be done with, hopefully.”

Mr. Harris has been surprised by the amount of information he needs to be up to speed on and keep in his head. He's been coming in early and staying late to read about the investment industry, and specifically about how particular funds are managed and how managers are selected.

He said he's putting in the extra hours of reading to make sure he can correctly answer questions clients have about their investments or the business overall.

Before the end of the year Mr. Harris is due for an annual review and looks forward to discussing the progression of his career with his bosses, and possibly being given additional client responsibilities.

“I'm enjoying the work and there's lots of room to grow,” he said.

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