The purpose of the PWA Association is to lead accountants into the world of private wealth accounting.
A private wealth accountant (PWA) or private wealth accounting practice is an individual or firm that provides independent, financial and non-financial services to high net worth individuals (HNWI) and families. A PWA practice is often referred to as a Family Office.
Accountants keen to diversify for success can move toward the world of the financial adviser, taking their existing client base with them and then attracting newer, wealthier clients. See RDR and the opportunity for accountants for more detail on this point.
Note that a PWA does not give direct financial advice on investment products (unless they are registered with the relevant authorities as an adviser). The role of a PWA is to oversee their clients' own wealth management. Your clients will still get to a point where they need financial advice, but you can be there with them.
What is required?
A PWA must become an expert on their clients' overall financial planning needs and the wider investment market, keeping up-to-date with opportunities in the wealth management sector.
Sound accounting discipline is required to be able to define clear financial strategies which balance risk and return to deliver the best returns. Good IT skills are required to implement and manage the software which the PWA Association will provide to help you work with your clients to manage their financial affairs.
It's important to understand that private wealth accounting almost always involves an element of accounting for a whole family. This is an inevitable side-effect of wealth accumulation - people want to keep it in the family (or business partners) as much as possible.
Accountants will know that it's never too early for inheritance planning. It can be a very valuable tool for tax efficiency as well as a way of making sure wealth goes where its owner wants it to go.