Diana LJ Harrison, CPA, CFP®, CWS®, CDFA™

Investment Advisor Representative

Email Diana: diana@fi-team.com

Diana has always had a real zeal for tax, accounting and financial work. With a huge amount of hard work and sacrifice, she turned her passion into her life's work. No easy task for sure, but it makes for a handsome story.

Diana HarrisonIt all began one cold and rainy afternoon in the late 70's. The scene is right out of a classic Norman Rockwell print. Young Diana is sitting at her small desk, reading glasses perched on the end of her nose. A hot cup of black coffee sits on one side and a vase of #2 pencils sharpened to a point on the other. Found on the floor next to her chair is a modest pile of files full of last year's receipts and a stack of fresh 1040 tax forms. There's a warm light coming from the lamp over her head and a paper pamphlet of the IRS's latest tax code in her hands. Ready to begin, she sets the tax code aside and picks up a pencil. She takes a deep breath and begins preparing her very first tax return. At this moment in history, with not a computer in sight running the latest tax preparation and research software, Diana has no idea what the years will bring.

After this first tax season, Diana realizes how much she loves doing taxes and how much more she would like to learn. Highly inspired and ready to go, she begins her legendary educational career, gaining her first accreditation in 1980 as a licensed tax consultant.

Diana is on a roll. She is like a sponge, taking in this exciting new consciousness and has to keep on going. She knows this is the ticket to truly being able to help her clients and grow herself personally. In 1988, Diana is back in school. Her goal: to gain the knowledge base that comes with being a full blown Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Within 2 years, she receives her Post-Baccalaureate degree in Accounting. Once graduation is over, Diana still has to hurdle the task of actually becoming certified, which means a grueling and intense process. Proudly, in 1990, Diana receives her CPA certificate and in 1992 she opens her own CPA firm, dubbed as Diana LJ Harrison CPA, PC. She enthusiastically gets to work building her new firm and professional career. The client list grows; the work is fulfilling; interesting people come and go, and at times the cuddly coo of babies fills the office. It is a fabulous ebb and flow of progress.

Now if all of this isn't enough, a new gleam hints in Diana's eye with the hope of a fresh challenge. What's this? The State of Oregon starts talking about allowing CPAs to also hold financial advisor licensing. Her mind reels at the possibilities of combining her tax practice with financial management. This could be a dream come true--she could offer her clients a total package of tax and financial advice all in one visit! In 2001, the new legislation is passed. The learning materials are ordered and Diana is at her desk, studying once again. Before she knows it, she has her Series 4, 7, 66 and insurance licenses and begins offering financial services to her clients as well as continuing her tax company. This same year, she also studies for and obtains the encompassing Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner (CFP®) certification. The CFP® accreditation is known for its high standard of education, stringent code of conduct and standards of practice, and ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients.

So now we will fast forward through the years a bit. Along the way, there are many ups and downs, rewards and heartbreaks. But Diana's can-do attitude never lets her down and she overcomes all obstacles and hard times thrown in her path. Both the financial and tax practices are growing, technology is seriously improving over the days of handwriting tax forms and Diana is soaking it all up. As the success of Diana's career grows, she wants to share it and show her appreciation to her long time assistant, Julie Olson, who has been by her side since 1998. The reward comes in the form of part ownership of the business she has helped Diana to build and year 2007 marks the year that the two businesses are separated into their own entities: Diana LJ Harrison CPA, PC and Harrison & Associates Wealth Management Services, Inc.

With two thriving companies, Diana has her hands full and knows she needs to grow her staff. To the CPA company, she adds an office manager, staff accountants and a bookkeeper while Julie devotes herself full-time to the finance company. Then, as an additional owner of Harrison & Associates, Diana welcomes her husband, Donald, to head the archive and transmission department.

With all this grand growth, Diana wants to give back to the community, partly as a thank you, but more because she loves supporting other people. Her giving nature jumps into action and the firms lend a hand to different charities each month.

In 2010, Diana adds to her education by completing the rigorous coursework of a Certified Wealth Strategist® (CWS®) and expands her knowledge and skill set needed to work with more complex client issues. Then, as motivated as ever, in 2011 she earns her most recent accreditation, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™). This certification enhances Diana's ability to help her clients with financial issues that will affect the rest of their lives.

With the ever-growing financial firm, Diana naturally gravitates toward the joy she finds in advising clients and helping them reach their financial goals. She sees that the CPA firm needs to be revamped and taken over by someone that can fully realize its potential. This is a difficult decision for Diana, it being her first love, but in 2013, Kelsey Lewis purchases the majority of ownership in the CPA firm, leaving Diana more time to devote to money management. The CPA firm is now known as Lewis & Harrison CPA Group and the finance company changes its name to Financial Investment Team, Inc. Plus, as a value added service, a supplementary divorce consulting firm was formed between Kelsey and Diana to utilize the CDFA™ certifications that they both have.

Diana is committed to her clients and her dedication shows through the Five Star Wealth Manager Award that she earns in 2014 for the second year in a row. Award winners are not rated or ranked by Five Star; instead, they undergo thorough regulatory reviews. This award illustrates Diana's devotion to building real relationships with her clients and helps provide them confidence that they have chosen a qualified, researched professional that focuses on customer service.

She is not all work and no play, though. She makes a point to enjoy the finer things in life, all of which bring great hiking, traveling, training her dog, gardening, and always at the top of her list, spending time with her husband, kids, and her dad. And to help her fully enjoy these moments, the perfect cup of coffee is never far away.

As we come to today, Diana's professional and educational career evolutions have not broken stride. There are plans in queue for continuing her education in the coming months as well as designs for enlarging the firm. She keeps up with her love of tax work by preparing a few returns and working the usual longer hours during tax season. But mainly, she is using her vast knowledge and history to manage money and to give well-rounded financial, retirement, college, life and budget planning advice to clients.

Looking back, it is not hard to see that Diana's values are rooted in giving, building her education, and planning for the future. She is an amazing person that never tires of challenging herself and doing her best for everyone around her, even when the doing gets tough. This work is her passion, but it is not all about numbers or money. For her, it is truly about supporting people and helping dreams to come true.

The Five Star Wealth Manager award, administered by Crescendo Business Services, LLC (dba Five Star Professional), is based on 10 objective criteria:

1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser or a registered investment adviser representative;
2. Active as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years;
3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by Five Star Professional, the wealth manager has not: A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three customer complaints filed against them [settled or pending] with any regulatory authority or Five Star Professional's consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through Five Star Professional's consumer complaint process; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint filed with a regulatory authority; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy; E. Been convicted of a felony);
4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards;
5. Accepting new clients;
6. One-year client retention rate;
7. Five-year client retention rate;
8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered;
9. Number of client households served;
10. Education and professional designations.

Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or awarded.

Once awarded, wealth managers may opt to purchase profile ad space or promotional products. The award methodology does not evaluate the quality of services provided and is not indicative of the award winner's future performance. 1,558 Portland wealth managers were considered for the award; 190 (approximately 12 percent of candidates) were named 2014 Five Star Wealth Managers.