Does Your Business Have A Strong Advisory Team Behind The Numbers?

Does your business have a trusted advisory group around your founders and/or high-level leadership? Do you have someone or a close-knit group of people who will tell you their unbiased views and who have your best interests at heart and no other motive than to see you succeed?

You want to have people who will tell you the hard truths with good intentions, not to break you down but to show you a road map to success or a potential pitfall that you might’ve missed — although they will ultimately let you make the decision on how to proceed. This could be a family member completely outside the realm of your industry or a seasoned professional within your domain.

At the end of the day, this should be someone who brings you back to your bottom line without compromising your values, who ensures you stay the course and deliver as promised to your customers, vendors and employees.

Building The Team Behind The Numbers
Conventional wisdom says you need a good CPA, tax expert, legal expert and/or advisor to fill this role. Having strong CPA, tax, legal and advisory teams can be extremely valuable as your business grows. The better CPAs, tax experts and legal teams offer a-la-carte services for businesses when they are starting out and will grow with you. They step in to advise and provide direction on business opportunities. They can offer reasons on why not to proceed, presenting the numbers behind their rationale while ultimately deferring to your leadership expertise.

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One way to find a good CPA is to do a little research on a CPA firm and then to call them directly and ask to speak to a partner. Inquire about how they handle small businesses just starting out. Are they going to bill you at a partner’s rate but send you a junior staff member? Some junior staff members are extremely proficient and will meet your business needs; a good CPA firm knows its staff is capable and will match you to the appropriate CPA.

If you feel comfortable with that level of expertise, it can be a win-win for both you and the CPA firm. Your business can grow with the junior CPA, who will then grow within the firm and can always ask senior staff for assistance when needed. Communication is key, though. If the senior staff doesn’t communicate and assist in a timely manner, stop and have a serious conversation about fixing the issue (but first, make sure you’re giving them enough time to respond).

Another strategy is to inquire if the CPA firm does any SBA 8(a) annual audit reviews and if it’s a top-rated firm for this work; due to the nature of dealing with the SBA, this is usually a sign of a good firm.

You are looking for a results-driven firm that is not focused on billable hours, works to get the job done and doesn’t penalize you for every five seconds of talk time. The best firms want to get in and get the job done properly, rather than running up your hourly bill.

The Importance Of Your Advisory Team During The Pandemic
It’s crucial to have a team providing insight into your supply chain and potential risks from a financial standpoint, especially in times of uncertainty. With Covid-19 having disrupted countless supply chains, your CPA, tax, legal and advisory teams can help solidify the numbers in your books by pointing out potential savings and risks associated with poor-performing supply lines or digital software. Finding a good CPA will also open doors to referrals to good tax and legal teams, as many of them work in the same circles.

With the many changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, a strong advisory team that is mindful of the challenges your external/internal stakeholders are facing can assist in navigating issues while providing a path forward to limit the possibilities of irreversible damage. A company may engage a CPA to validate a potential supply-chain partner as well as the company’s capability to pay the partner, while a legal firm can assist in drafting documentation to protect the seller and service provider so that all parties have limited risk.

Many businesses have had to reassess or reinvent themselves during these challenging times. Running your plans by an advisory team could be a critical move to survive this year, especially considering how many companies haven’t been able to weather the storms of 2020. You may be looking to pivot into additional revenue streams or switch industry domains altogether to find new sources of income. Seeking advice from a trusted advisor who has seen the good and the bad from the revenue streams you’re considering would be a wise investment of your time and money.
In addition, a good banker tied to your team can engage with your CPA to add a level of comfort and solidify your plans. Many small local banks are vested in supporting small businesses with more than just financial help and sometimes provide trusted referrals for CPA and legal teams.

In Conclusion
Finding a good CPA is worth the value when they are authentic, understand your business and are willing to demonstrate deep interest in your success as a long-term client. This CPA relationship can pave the way to being referred to good tax and legal teams.

If your business can’t find room in the budget, perhaps you can work out a payment schedule. Be sure to honor your word and you may find yourself with a team behind the numbers that not only validates them but also provides you with value-added advice and direction to save your business from major pitfalls.

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