Family Offices Help Quarterback a Variety of Wealth Management Functions by Heath Standorf, CPA

Posted on February 26, 2024 by Heath Standorf

Beginning in the 19th century, some of the U.S.’s wealthiest industrialists quietly abandoned Wall Street banks to hire their own teams of experts to discreetly manage, preserve and grow their business operations and family wealth for future generations. Today, these family offices have moved beyond the shadows of the Rockefellers, Morgans and Vanderbilts and expanded their service offerings to include a broader range of family dynasties with varying degrees of personal wealth.

Just as a CFO oversees a company’s day-to-day financial operations, a family office centralizes the management of high-net-worth individuals’ personal wealth, which may be tied closely to their business interests and spread across the globe. It operates like a private company, employing a team of experts and outsourced professionals dedicated to preserving a family’s fortune and values amid complex and ever-changing economic and legal environments. However, building a family office from the ground up to serve the needs of just one family can become cost-prohibitive when considering all the areas of the functions it serves and the expertise it requires.

Among the responsibilities that frequently fall to a family office include selection and ongoing assessment of investments, budgeting, cash management and bill payment, estate and succession planning, philanthropy, family governance, accounting, tax management and compliance with laws that may differ from one state to the next and across international borders. With such a broad range of functions and an equally extensive volume of data to process, today’s family offices must be adept at leveraging technology with professional guidance to ensure they can access and analyze the right information they need to make critical family, financial and business decisions at any moment in time. After all, those decisions ultimately impact family wealth and its members’ immediate and long-term needs and goals.

One of a family office’s most important and challenging functions is selecting software and other systems intended to capture, track, and aggregate relevant information, automate repetitive processes, and centralize data management and reporting. Not only must these solutions be capable of completing their intended tasks and improving operational efficiencies, but they must also integrate seamlessly with complementary platforms that support all a family’s mission-critical goals. Too often, these decisions are complicated by the rapid pace of technological advancement to the point that a solution implemented today may not necessarily scale to a family’s growing needs in the future, or it may simply become obsolete. To avoid these scenarios, families should work with experienced family offices proficient in the latest solutions but remain committed to seeking out the latest innovations and improving their expertise across a broad range of capabilities.

About the Author: Heath Standorf, CPA, is an associate director of Family Office Services with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs. He and his team help high-net-worth individuals and families streamline wealth planning, treasury and risk management and data reporting and analysis services. He can be reached at the CPA firm’s Miami office at (305) 379-7000 or