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Five Experts Advisers Should Follow

Social media 2 When I think about why I love being a financial planner, the first thing that comes to mind is the relationships I have with my clients. A close second is the community of other planners around the country who are some of the brightest and most engaging people I know. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to meet and learn from so many of these people. I could write an entire book about everyone who has impacted my career, but here are five who I think you should know:

  • Lyle Benson (@LyleKBenson) - Anyone who has been lucky enough to work alongside one of their parents will understand why I have my dad at the top of this list. I've been learning from him my whole life, but I'm certainly not the only person in our industry who has felt his impact. For years, he has been actively involved in the AICPA PFP Section and has put forth tremendous amounts of time and energy promoting CPAs who do financial planning. He is a driving force in our profession.
  • Bob Veres (@BobVeres) - Bob is a true visionary in the financial planning world, and he has an uncanny ability to see the future. He's a passionate advocate for financial planners and isn't afraid to ruffle feathers to make sure the general public knows who we are and what we stand for. He hosts the Insider's Forum each year, and his monthly newsletters are available to all AICPA PFP section members.
  • Michael Kitces (@MichaelKitces) - I am always amazed when I meet people in the financial planning world who DON'T know who Michael Kitces is. Between his packed speaking schedule, almost daily blog posts and constant tweets, it seems like it would be hard to miss him. His technical expertise is unrivaled and his ability to break down complex topics into common sense language makes his articles an incredible resource.
  • Bob Keebler (@KeeblerRobert) - I once heard someone say Bob's presentations are like "drinking from a fire hose of information." He has a wealth of knowledge that he is eager to share. What really impresses me about Bob is his ability to think through complex problems and deliver brilliant solutions. If a new tax law comes out, you can be sure Bob will know everything about it and have creative planning strategies to deal with it before you even know what the law is. He's the chair of the AICPA Estate Planning conference and speaks at events all over the country.
  • Jean-Luc Bourdon (@jeanlucbourdon) - Jean-Luc’s quiet, laid back demeanor belies his passion for helping people with their finances. He has a very inquisitive nature, and I always leave our conversations with a new perspective on some topic. Jean-Luc has worked extremely hard, often behind the scenes, to advance our profession as CPA financial planners.  If you ever run into him, be sure to buy him a beer from his native Belgium and ask him about his time working on the television show "The Nanny" - you won't be disappointed!

"Once you stop learning, you start dying," Albert Einstein famously said. He was a very smart man, but he didn't get that way by chance. Einstein knew how important it was to continuously seek out new information and challenge existing ideas. CPAs are required to keep up with continuing education, but we shouldn't stop there.

The professionals I mentioned above have an incredible amount of technical and practical knowledge. They also share a willingness to help others, and selflessly offer their time and effort to our profession. In addition to the technical knowledge I've gained from them, I’ve also learned how to communicate better with clients, how to run our firm more effectively and how to prepare for the future.

Reading is one of the best ways to learn, and everyone on this list writes regularly. Look them up, find out where they are publishing articles and read everything they write - I do! You'll also find them speaking frequently at conferences around the country; you can meet most, if not all of them, at the AICPA’s Advanced PFP Conference, now part of AICPA ENGAGE, on June 12-15, 2017 in Las Vegas. Don’t be afraid to approach and talk to them. You'll be amazed by how helpful they are and by how much you will learn. In the meantime, my fellow young advisers can find more information, resources and community around developing their career as a CPA financial planner here.

Chris Benson, CPA/PFS, holds a master’s in Taxation from the University of Baltimore. He provides tax and financial planning services at L.K. Benson & Co.  Chris has played an active role in developing resources for the Personal Financial Planning division and engaging with the Young CPA community.

Social media courtesy of Shutterstock.

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