What does a financial adviser do?

A financial adviser focuses on helping you set and achieve your financial goals over the short, medium and long term. By looking at the big picture, they take into account your entire financial situation and create a strategy to help you get to where you want to be.


Financial advisers offer a comprehensive approach that is tailored to you or help you with smaller, one-off requests if that’s all you need.


Because your circumstances and goals change over time, your financial adviser will also offer to regularly review your financial plan with you – and make adjustments as needed to keep you on track towards reaching your goals.


They can help you:

  • Create a budget and managing your cash flow
  • Get out of debt
  • Save for specific goals
  • Put insurance cover in place
  • Build an investment portfolio
  • Grow your business
  • Prepare for retirement
  • Plan your estate.

Unlike an accountant, a financial adviser can't give specific tax advice, unless they are qualified to do so. A financial adviser will coach and guide you, empowering you with the knowledge and confidence you need to make informed financial decisions and work toward your ongoing financial security.

What does an accountant do?

An accountant is primarily focused on managing your bookkeeping and tax obligations. In a nutshell, they are responsible for helping you fulfil your legal requirements by accurately reporting on your financial activity over the financial year, whether for yourself or for a business you own.


Many people visit an accountant if they run a company, have large investments, or need complex tax advice – for example, to understand the tax implications of owning a rental property. But whatever your situation, an accountant can cast a trained eye over your finances and work out the best way to structure them.


Here are some of the services provided by accountants. 

  • Develop tailored strategies to minimise your tax liability.
  • Ensure you’re claiming the tax deductions and rebates you’re entitled to.
  • Help you with legal reporting requirements if you have a business or self-managed super fund.
  • Maintain your company’s financial records, such as payroll, accounts payable and balance sheets.
  • Take care of complicated tax issues, including business advice and audits
  • Explain tax laws and how they might impact you. 

What does a financial counsellor do?

Financial counselling is a free and confidential service offered by not-for-profit community organisations and local government agencies. It’s generally for people who are experiencing severe financial hardship.


Financial counsellors don't charge any fees or receive any commissions for their services. As skilled professionals, they can help you with things like:

  • bills or fines you’re unable to pay
  • disconnection of your household utilities
  • car accidents without insurance
  • debt payment plans
  • an eviction notice from your home
  • declaring bankruptcy
  • negotiating with creditors
  • making an insurance claim.

They’ll guide you through your options while providing advice on your rights and responsibilities with creditors and government agencies.


In some cases, they may be able to advocate on your behalf. They can also refer you to other specialist support services, such as legal aid, health services and crisis accommodation providers.


Unlike financial advisers, financial counsellors are not focused on wealth creation. Their role is to provide immediate assistance support and practical advice to people who are in debt or struggling to meet everyday living expenses.

Unleash in ways you never thought possible

Get in touch

Get in touch with us online or call us
8:30am to 6pm AEST Monday to Friday.

Find a financial adviser

Use our tool to find professional financial advice,

local to you.

Download mobile app

Track your balance and see your 

transactions history from anywhere.

Things you should know

Avanteos Investments Limited ABN 20 096 259 979, AFSL 245531 (AIL) is the trustee of the Colonial First State FirstChoice Superannuation Trust ABN 26 458 298 557 and issuer of FirstChoice range of super and pension products. Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFSIL) is the responsible entity and issuer of products made available under FirstChoice Investments and FirstChoice Wholesale Investments. 


Information on this webpage is provided by AIL and CFSIL. It may include general advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial situation, needs or tax circumstances. You can find the target market determinations (TMD) for our financial products at  https://www.cfs.com.au/tmd which include a description of who a financial product might suit. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) carefully, assess whether the information is appropriate for you, and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. You can get the PDS and FSG at www.cfs.com.au or by calling us on 13 13 36.