I think that an accountant can be a valuable member of the planning team for either a family or a business. All too often, an accountant's work consists of a sort of "post-mortem" analysis, whereas if he or she had been consulted before major financial decisions were made, the consumer could have benefited greatly from the advice. For instance, sometimes timing a necessary expenditure a little differently can have a major impact on taxes. An example for a family would be figuring out how best to pay for college or whether to refinance the house. For a business, major purchasing decisions such as office renovations or vehicle purchases should be run by an accountant first.