Your Accountant and Lawyer – Your Most Called on Advisers



Make sure you select an accountant suited to the type of business you operate and the level of service you require. If you are a small business you may want to deal with a smaller firm of accountants, or even a sole practitioner who can give you personal service. If your accountant specialises in working with small business clients, then he/she is likely to be more aware of the needs of the small business and will be of greater benefit to you.

Whatever your choice, make sure the accountant is a "go-ahead" type of person with vision, rather than just a "glorified bookkeeper", more concerned with what has happened in the past instead of planning for the future.
Your accountant should work closely with you on a regular basis and be aware of the developments of the business from day to day. Always seek advice on major decisions so you have a sounding board before committing yourself to a situation, which may affect the business in a negative way.

Even though the annual fee is a consideration, look at everything on a wider scale and be prepared to pay a fair fee, if your accountant is providing you with the special services you need.

Your accountant is an essential adviser to your business
In general an accountant is worth his/her weight in gold and they can help you make decisions resulting in high returns or reduced costs for the business. Most business owners lack the financial management skills that only an accountant can help with. Don't assume that because your accountant is familiar with figures, profits and losses that they know all about the challenges small business operators face.

Your accountant may be more familiar with the big corporations, rather than the small business - so watch this.

Try and keep your accountant informed during the year. If you only see them once at the end of the financial year or at tax time, then you are probably not making the best use of his/her expertise or getting the most out of the fee you pay.

Your Lawyer must see everything legal
It goes without saying that you should never make any decision involving legal issues without consulting your lawyer. It's easy to get into difficulties, resulting in heavy losses that could have been avoided with proper legal advice.

If you are starting off in business, make sure your lawyer looks over the lease of the premises and that any contracts, legal agreements or documents are not signed without the lawyers "once over". Too many business owners call their lawyers when they run into trouble. They should see the lawyer prior to completing the deal and not after the deal has been finalised.

Everyone knows that legal fees can be costly, but remember that advice received from a good lawyer will be of far greater value than the fee that has to be paid. The fact that lawyers are expensive should motivate you to secure the right type of lawyer in the first place.

Keep your lawyer informed on all legal matters in the business. Keep them up to date with what is happening, with even a quick phone call, and make sure you consult them at all times. Make sure it is before and not after signing documentation. Try and avoid dabbling in matters to do with the law on your own. This is a temptation that must be avoided at all times.

Lawyers can also contribute useful business contacts. There is nothing like networking to open up doors for your business, so don't discount the value of your lawyer in this area.


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