Picking the Perfect Business Advisor
It’s a question that crosses every business owner’s mind at some stage. You can’t know everything so you need to hire someone to give you advice. My business is in financial trouble, what do I do? I’m looking to expand and grow, how should I go about that? What do I need to consider when hiring more staff? These are common questions but who do you truly trust to give you advice?
Some lucky business owners have mentors. Seasoned entrepreneurs who have owned and exited businesses and can speak from personal experience. For those who don’t have a mentor, many turn to their accountants. There is nothing wrong with turning to your accountant for business advice. I mean, they know everything there is to know about business, right? Well… not exactly.
There’s an old saying in accounting circles, “Don’t trust an accountant that isn’t in business for themselves.”
What we’ve come to expect
To understand this, let’s look at the typical career trajectory of an accountant at a mid-tier firm.
They will finish University and get a graduate role at a mid-tier firm. After two years they are promoted to senior accountant followed by another year or two before moving up to assistant manager. Two years after that they will finally get promoted to manager. In this six year period how many businesses have they run? How many critical decisions have they made? How many marketing strategies have they come up with?
In fact, the dirty little secret for most accountants in a mid-tier firm is they have never sold a single thing until they have the title of manager. Is this really someone you want advising you?
“In fact, the dirty little secret for most accountants in a mid-tier firm is they have never sold a single thing until they have a title of manager.”
The Accountant We Deserve
Now let’s look at the typical career of a freelance accountant.
They learn the same things at University. Graduate into a mid-tier firm position where they will spend a year before being promoted.
While their trajectory is akin to that of their counterparts – the traditional accountant. These freelance accountants exhibit a very important characteristic. They are risk takers; entrepreneurs who have decided to start their own business.
Now I can only speak for Accodex Partners and not on behalf of the freelance accounting sector. Collectively, over 60% of Accodex’s partners have started a business – outside of their own accounting practice.
Of course, this is not a mandatory requirement of each incoming Accodex partner. Nonetheless, partners that possess this trait have often demonstrated a level of capability beyond that of their peers. This is because unlike the ‘traditional accountant’, these partners have tried, failed and succeeded on their own terms. The bottom line: they have real-world experience. Discarding their cushy, salaried roles at large firms to build their business from the ground up.
“Over 60% of Accodex’s partners have started a business – outside of their own accounting practice”
Why This Matters
Let’s compare the two. On paper, both accountants have gone through similar educational institutions. Perhaps, even started out their careers in comparable positions, but only one can speak from experience. Only one has taken the initiative to walk a mile in your shoes – one who truly understands the hardships of running a business
So, the next time you think about choosing your business advisor, do yourself the due diligence. Don’t just stick with a familiar service because of their brand. For all you know, the people behind that brand have had little to no industry exposure and misplaced overconfidence.
Selecting the right business advisor for your business is not a decision to take lightly. Take your time to meet with the boutique firms and the freelance accountants like our partners here at Accodex. Who knows? You might just find the help you’ve been looking for.
Written By: Patrick De Ruvo
Chief Technology Officer