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What is the difference between a Financial Planner vs Financial Adviser vs Accountant vs Financial Counsellor in Australia?

Updated: May 6

Clients and consumers are often confused by the different specialties of each occupation, so let's help define them!

Firstly, Financial Planners & Financial Advisers are the same thing and the names are interchangeable.

A financial planner/adviser specialises in creating holistic financial plans. We assess your current financial situation, analyse your goals, risk tolerance, and devise comprehensive strategies to help you live your ideal life. Whilst different advisers specialise in different things, most provide advice on Goals Planning, Modelling and Projections, Investing, Cashflow, Insurance and Tax Planning (to name a few areas). You can find out more about our services here.

Financial Planners/Advisers hold approved degrees, have passed the FASEA exam and are listed on the Financial Adviser Register. Some advisers also have extra qualifications such as being Certified Financial Planners (CFP).


Accountants specialise in financial record-keeping, reporting, and analysis. They handle tasks such as preparing financial records (such as tax returns), providing tax advice, managing compliance matters, and sometimes offer guidance on budgeting and forecasting, particularly to businesses. Accountants typically hold degrees in accounting or related fields and may have certifications like Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA). A quick way to distinguish Financial Planners and Accountants, is that Financial Planners are often looking forwards, whilst accountants are often looking backwards when assessing finances.

Financial Counsellors:

Financial counsellors support individuals facing financial distress or hardship. They provide guidance, support, and education on managing debt, budgeting, and accessing financial assistance or services. Financial consellors are non-for profit organisations funded largely by government, and their services are free.

In conclusion, each financial professional plays a crucial role in managing different aspects of your finances. Understanding their specialties and areas of expertise can help you make informed decisions when seeking financial advice or assistance. Whether it's planning for the future, managing investments, handling taxes, or navigating financial challenges, there's a specialised professional available to help you.

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