Use Only Advisers You Can Trust

It is common sense to try and save money by doing the job yourself if you are a business owner.  This “do it yourself” approach is fine as long as you know what you are doing. Sometimes, however, it’s best to spend the money and bring in a professional because the expertise a specialist has to offer will more than likely save you “heaps” of money in the long run.  This is especially the case when it comes to taxation and legal matters. 

Most business owners will find that the trial and error approach can work out to be far more costly than the price of getting a good accountant or lawyer to do the job correctly the first time around.  This also applies to many other areas of business, such as marketing, human resources, sales, promotion and public relations. 

There is an old saying; “The man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.”  Sometimes it’s best not to “represent” yourself.  More often than not, you are putting the safety of your business and the future of your employees and your family in jeopardy. 

A wise business owner will consult trusted advisers to help them in the more specialised matters of running and operating a successful business venture.

Here are a few tips that may help you:

  1. Find advisers by referral. 
    The referral method is usually the best.  Ask other business owners to recommend advisers who have done work for them in the past.  They will recommend only those they have been satisfied with and who they feel will do a good job. 

  2. Ask yourself questions
    Some questions you need to ask yourself after meeting a potential adviser for the first time include:

    • Did the adviser appear to be an expert in their field?
    • Did the adviser offer advice that you believe will be helpful in your business?
    • Will the adviser be easy to contact when needed?
    • Did the adviser make you feel comfortable and did you feel like he or she appreciated your needs?
    • Do you feel you could trust that adviser?
    • Do you think you can get along?

  3. Interview a few
    It’s always best to interview at least two or three candidates before you make your final selection.  It’s all well and good to receive glowing recommendations, but the final decisions must be made from your assessment of the person being considered. You have to try and visualise whether you will be comfortable working with the person you hire, because this is critical. 

  4. Ask the Adviser candidate
    When interviewing potential advisers ask them the following questions:
    • Ask whether the adviser specialises in a particular area you need help on.
    • Ask whether they have experience in your type of industry.
    • Ask whether they deal in small businesses or handle large company business clients also. (If you are a small business you will want someone that specialises more with the smaller operations.)
    • Test the person for communication skills.  Find out how well they can explain things to you when you ask them a question.
    • Check out whether they have foresight.  Ask the person whether they can advise you on some of the potential problems you might encounter if you follow a particular path.
    • Ask whether they will be available when needed.  It’s no use taking on an adviser who is either too busy to take your calls, or does not appreciate your urgency when you leave a message for them to call back.
    • Be clear on the cost of the services.  Find out if there will be a flat fee based on completion of a particular job or will the adviser charge you by the hour.  Find out clearly what you will be getting for your money.
    • Find out if there is any insurance cover if mistakes are made by their firm that cause you loss.  Most accountants and lawyers will carry professional liability insurance etc and there may also be an indemnity available from the association they belong to.

The bottom line is that you should use a professional adviser when the need arises.  Skimping to save a few cents can result in costing your business thousands of dollars, as well as headaches, aggravation and stress that mistakes will bring.


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