This article are provided for information purposes only, and are not intended as legal advice.

Business advisors – is it time to change or are you getting the service that you need?

July 29th, 2009

If you are happy with your professional business advisors and they are providing you an excellent service, don’t change. What do you consider an excellent service?  Are you asking the planning questions?   Do the business advisors come up with recommendations?  Are they proactive or reactive?

Do you consider your accountant and lawyer as a necessity or do you consider them a partner, not from an equity perspective but someone looking out for your best interest?  If you are questioning everything they do and having to come up with the ideas first, then it may be time to start to look at other business advisors to see if the service that you are getting is the norm or can you do better?

Remember, it is not how much money that you make, the important part is how much do you get to keep.  If your professional advisors are not helping you with ideas that you want, what is the mandate of your business advisor?  If you only want to pay for your accountant to do bookkeeping and do the annual tax return then you cannot complain that they are not providing you the proper service.  If you do not keep your advisors informed of what you are doing, they can’t be proactive.  If you are not willing to pay for you lawyer or accountant to be proactive, you can’t complain, you are getting what you paid them for.  Before switching advisors, review the mandate that you gave them, if you are happy with them and they are giving you 100% of their mandate, why even think of changing.

If your business advisors work only with small clients and if you are considerably larger than their other clients, who is teaching who?  Do they have the ability to tak you to the next level of service?

If the first question you ask your business advisor, whether it be an accountant or lawyer, is how much will it cost me, you have to understand that you are not shopping for the business advisor who can provide you with the proper advise, you are shopping for a firm who is the cheapest and often service will be commensurate with the amount of fees that you are paying.  An advisor may cost you say $1,000 less however the more expensive advisor may have saved you $10,000 in taxes in perpetuity, who is less expensive?  Many businesses do not look at results, they only look at the initial costs.

Too many people look to the short term costs and not to the long term savings.  If the accountant’s and lawyer’s practice is growing and he/she rarely loses a client and is always adding more clients, what does that tell you about their customer satisfaction.  If you want something to be done, always give the work to a busy person.

Is your advisor working for a large or small firm, which one is  better?  In actual fact, you may get more personal and better service when you use a small to medium size firm than a larger firm.  Often the larger firms have many people working on your account therefore you will have to make decisions, which person to call.  On more complex matters, small to medium size firms may not have the expertise to work on all your business issues.  In the end, it comes down to people.  If you are happy with the individual, it does not matter if they work in a small or large firm, you are working with the individuals who you have picked.  The firm is their to support that individual advisor, you do not deal with that firm, you deal with that advisor.

Filed under: Business advisors — Gary Landa @ 9:00 am

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