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Engaging Advisers Correctly

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Engaging Advisers Correctly

By , April 10, 2009

Often a small business owners we do a very poor job of engaging the right advisers or a poor job of engaging our advisers correctly. Sometimes this is simply as a result of our focus on cost and not wasting valuable resources however often this results in far greater cost and lack of the correct advice.

I recently engaged a legal firm in Kirrawee to conduct some property related work for one of our companies – I received a quote/estimate for some $2,420 shortly followed by invoices totalling over $7, 000 !!! Whilst this matter is still in dispute – the lesson has been strongly learnt. And the advice I sought has yet to be provided of course.

We need to ensure the terms of our engagement are clear and the first stage of that process to ensure we have identified the right adviser – the most appropriate one to handle our specific requirements.

Managing succession planning projects we are often required to coordinate the services of several advisers in various areas of specialty, many of our clients are extremely reluctant to engage advisers in a complicated area as they simply don’t understand what they need to know.

Interestingly, in a recent business conference 86 business owners were questioned as to the services they were looking for from their accountant – all 86 responded by saying they would happily change advisers if they found a proactive accountant who would help in five key areas;

growth
profitability
cash flow
asset protection & succession planning

I often tell clients “Your advisers should make or save you at least four times the amount you pay them” – so in other words if you pay your accountant $10,000 this financial year they should be able to make savings and / or show you how to make extra profits of $40,000 – therefore demonstrating clear value as an adviser.

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.