Are your accountant, lawyer and financial planner working as a team for your benefit?


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As a business owner, you need to leverage off all the relationships you build as your business develops. You therefore need to make smart choices between service providers to your business and advisors who go that step further to help your business grow by adding their expertise and experience. Many successful businesses have an advisory board to guide them in areas where they know they have weaknesses. However, many entrepreneurs need advice, but feel that they can’t ask for help since they’re “in charge”, so I need to start from a more basic position.

I’ll be very blunt and say you can’t afford to have:

  • an accountant who simply prepares your financials, processes your BAS and takes your calls from time to time as issues arise;
  • a lawyer who handles your contract needs for employment or agreements with suppliers and agencies, or who provides those nasty letters to overdue debtors;
  • a financial planner who updates your insurance every few years and diversifies your superannuation to protect your nest egg; or
  • regularly changing business bankers or mortgage brokers who only contact you to service your loan and sell you a new service.

I could go on, but these are probably the core of “service suppliers” to any business. If I have sketched a good representation of your relationships, then you are wasting your time and money.

You need to hire advisors who are going to look after and out for opportunities for your business. You are probably focused on what you do best; you should be using the benefit of your advisors’ expertise to guide and protect your business. For example one pro-active accountant I deal with now asks clients if he  can end me the details of client’s income and super once over 55 to see if a TTR is suitable for them. I run a quick calculation and as a team we meet the client to discuss this and other  savings ideas. Regularly we see savings of over $100,000 in a 5 year period. That’s teamwork.

I regular refer clients back to their accountant or lawyer when I see gaps in their strategies or opportunities for clients to have more certainty in business, finance or estate planning.

Your advisors must have a passion for small business and engage with you, rather than reacting to requests when you to contact them.

They must be thinking ahead. Good advisors should be acting pro-actively for you by:

  • running workshops and seminars on innovative ideas for business growth or expense reduction;
  • providing solutions to improve budgeting and sourcing business concessions;
  •  revamping your credit terms or systemising your data processing through “the cloud”;
  •  thinking years in advance on ideas to fund expansion and manage risk;
  • bringing ideas from other business cases to adapt to your  needs;
  • analysing employment and entity structure options to cater for business growth; and
  • seeking introductions to each other to develop holistic proposals benefiting from their interaction, in your best interest.

You may often not know what the next steps for business growth entail, but they, as a collective, should be able to share other clients’ experiences as stepping-stones to help you negotiate the rapids.

Don’t be afraid to change. If a member of your advisory team is not up to scratch, look for an alternative. If you are not sure what you are looking for, Google “small business advice” in your suburb and seek out the small business professionals that offer case studies, blogs, networking, advice seminars, forums, checklists and other services that show they are not paper shufflers, but business professionals willing to bring more to the table than a service proposition.

Stalk them! Check them on Google, LinkedIn, their website, blog and Twitter. Also check their Professional Association to make sure they are legit. For financial planners look up Adviser Ratings and Independent source of feedback on Advisers.

In summary, understand what different advisors can do for you. Decide what you need from each advisor, leveraging off their strengths, and encourage them to work as a team to meet your needs.

Now the next step is to develop a Strategic Advisory Board, but that’s for another day!

I hope this guidance has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Image courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Adapted from my original article on MYOB’s small business blog in 2012 http://myob.com.au/blog/are-your-accountant-financial-advisor-and-lawyer-operating-as-a-team-for-your-benefit-2/

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