Financial Planning

Find the Right Experts for Your Financial Questions

The key to being confident about your financial future is having a professional in your corner to answer your questions and give you good advice. But how do you find the right adviser for your financial needs? Here’s a look at the strengths of four types of financial professionals.

1. Accountants

Accountants provide a variety of bookkeeping, tax filing and auditing services. Note that not all accountants are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Non-certified accountants can file your taxes, for instance, but only CPAs can represent you in an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit. While some CPAs offer financial planning advice, the majority of their training is on the tax code.

If you own a business or have complex or specialized tax filing and auditing needs, there are many ways an accountant can help your business.

2. Financial planners

Financial planners help you make decisions in support of your personal financial goals, and can execute those decisions on your behalf. They can advise you on many topics including retirement investing, stocks and bonds, taxes, estate planning and insurance. Planners frequently work with a team of attorneys, brokers and insurance specialists to coordinate all aspects of your financial plan.

“A financial planner is like the quarterback, calling the plays on the field,” says Jeff Rose, author of Soldier of Finance: Take Charge of Your Money and Invest in Your Future. Financial planners may hold a variety of specialty credentials, but some hold more value than others. “I hold several certifications, but only one—CFP—is printed on my business card,” Rose says, referring to his status as a Certified Financial Planner. “It’s the gold standard.”

A financial planner can suggest solutions for many different needs and help you develop a financial plan.

3. Attorneys

Attorneys prepare and update the legal documents needed to execute aspects of your financial plan such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney. You can hire an attorney yourself or have your financial planner hire one for you. Either way, communication is key. “Things go smoother when attorneys and planners have worked together in the past, know the client and are on the same page with the larger plan,” Rose says.

You may need an attorney if you want to make a will, execute a power of attorney, plan to live or work in another country, or sell or purchase a business. 

4. Personal bankers

Personal bankers are designated employees of a bank who have specialized knowledge of the products and services available to clients. They can assist you in applying for a loan, choosing investment securities and managing your personal accounts. Personal banking services cover a range of financial needs for clients across all stages of money management. From recommendations on the type of checking account you need, to advice on creating long-term savings plans and investments, personal bankers act as advisers with expert knowledge of your finances and the products that best suit your needs.  

You may need a personal banker if you want to apply for a loan, invest in bank securities, leverage your home equity or need individualized help managing your personal accounts.

No single person will have all the qualifications and expertise needed to carry out every facet of your financial plan. When it’s time to draft your team members, trust is paramount. “If you’re not getting up-front answers that make sense to you, don’t be afraid to move on,” Rose says.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.


Investment and Insurance Products:

Are Not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured   Are Not Bank Guaranteed  May Lose Value 

© 2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc

equal housing logoSunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC

equal housing logoEqual Housing Lender. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc

SunTrust, SunTrust Mortgage, SunTrust PortfolioView, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, SunTrust Premier Program, AMC Pinnacle, AMC Premier, Access 3, Signature Advantage Brokerage, Custom Choice Loan and SunTrust SummitView are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. Trust and investment management services are provided by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company and SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. Securities, brokerage accounts and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. Mortgage products and services are provided by SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.

SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. - NMLS #2915, 901 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, VA 23224, 1-800-634-7928. CA: licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB-989, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60601, 1-888-473-4858, MA: Mortgage Lender license #-ML-2915, NJ: Mortgage Banker License - New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker—NYS Department of Financial Services, and RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender.

"SunTrust Advisors" may be officers and/or associated persons of the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: SunTrust Bank, our commercial bank, which provides banking, trust and asset management services; SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, which is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and which provides securities, annuities and life insurance products; SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser which provides Investment Advisory services.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management, International Wealth Management, Business Owner Specialty Group, Sports and Entertainment Group, and Legal and Medical Specialty Groups and GenSpring are marketing names used by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., and SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

SunTrust Bank and its affiliates do not accept fiduciary responsibility for all banking and investment account types offered. Please consult with your SunTrust representative to determine whether SunTrust and its affiliates have agreed to accept fiduciary responsibility for your account(s) and if you have completed the documentation necessary to establish a fiduciary relationship with SunTrust Bank or an affiliate. Additional information regarding account types and important disclosures may be found at

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is the trade name for the corporate and investment banking services of SunTrust Banks, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC.