Do you have business advisors helping your firm? Do they come up with ideas and make recommendations or do they make recommendations only after you have asked a questionIf your advisors only provides advise after you ask about a specific item, are your advisors reacting to your question or providing suggestions and providing recommendations before you ask the question? If your advisor provides recommendations before you think of the question, they may actually be a profit center saving you money in excess of their cost.
In order to have a proactive advisory, you also need to keep them posted of your thoughts and your plans. It is easier to plan in advance than trying to plan after the fact, often it is too late. If you had done things differently, you may have saved a lot of money.
If your advisor has clients who are smaller than your firm, will they know any tax planning ideas relating to your firm? If your advisor has larger clients he/she runs into different issues which are applicable to the smaller clients. If you have only smaller clients, you may not be exposed to many different issues. If your advisor has been exposed to lots of different scenarios, then they may be able to spot situations which they learned about with other clients and can apply to your firm. If your advisor has never been exposed to different issues, will they know what to do or how to overcome the problem, or even more basic than this, will they recognize that this is a potential problem and needs to be addressed?
How do you know you have a good advisor? That is the million dollar question. A good advisor can be from a small or large firm. Remember, in larger firms, people are so specialized they may not be able to spot the issue which needs to be addressed. That may not be their area of expertise. Smaller firms may be more of a generalist, been exposed to many more areas. As a result, your advisor may not have the expertise of the specialist in the larger firm however, they may be able to spot the problem faster than a larger firm and if need be, recommend to bring in someone with more expertise that can address the issue. Remember, the trick is to find or deal with an issue in advance before it becomes a problem, once it is a problem, you may not be able to undo the issues, you may be able to patch the problem but if you planned in advance, you may have selected a different alternative.