5 Things I Wish SME Clients Asked Me: A Strategic Advisor's Viewpoint

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5 Things I Wish SME Clients Asked Me: A Strategic Advisor’s Viewpoint


5 Things I Wish SME Clients Asked Me: A Strategic Advisor’s Viewpoint

By , July 17, 2016

One of the most frustrating experiences as a strategic advisor was to have a regular line of clients who only really asked me for advice on one thing: “HOW DO I REDUCE MY TAX?

Of all the things that a strategic advisor is trying to help with and all the experience they’ve obtained from examined case studies, the only thing small business owners appeared to be focused on was reducing their tax.  Many still make decisions with taxation as the first, and often only, priority which is a little ridiculous!

Asking the Real Questions

In reality, there were so many untapped prospects; gold nuggets of information which were vastly fundamental to the success of the business. I rarely got these questions from any small business owner:

  1. How do I increase the value of the business?
  2. How do I ensure I can sell my business when I am ready to retire?
  3. How can I ensure my employees are fully engaged?
  4. Are they as motivated to maximise performance of the business as the owners themselves
  5. If not, how can I change this?

It is easy to blame business owners, but advisors must actually look to themselves for underlying reasons these conversations never took place. Even today with vast improvements in compliance software and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), many accountants see their primary role as preparing and lodging taxation returns and associated documents.

The very top successful advisors will have regular meetings with business owners with a set agenda and a conversation around the key topics of interest to business. Most importantly, this creates an action plan that both the advisor and the client can work together to achieve the set outcomes.

For more information, here’s the 7 top challenges strategic advisors face.

Craig West

Craig West

Managing Director | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant who has over 20 years’ experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice, provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners. Following 6 years of study to gain two masters degrees, Craig focused on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for business sales advising on strategic management of tax issues. This experience formed a very strong view that business owners (and often their advisers) were unprepared and unaware of the steps required to prepare a business for exit.

Craig now acts as a strategic mentor for mid-market business owners and has written four critically acclaimed books on employee incentives, succession planning, asset protection and exit strategies. Craig has conducted numerous seminars and keynote presentations throughout Australia & internationally, including adviser education programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants and CPA Australia.