How to pick 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.
Two Accountants but two different paths
There’s an old saying in accounting circles, “Don’t trust an accountant that isn’t in business for themselves.”
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 will get promoted to senior accountant and then a year or two after that they will become an 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?
Now let’s look at the typical career of a freelance accountant. They learn the same things at University, they get graduate jobs at mid-tier firms, they usually get promoted to senior accountant but then they get restless. They are inherent risk takers, they are entrepreneurs and they decide to start their own business. They decide to start their own business.
“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.”
Battle tested; small business approved
Now I can only speak for Accodex Partners and not freelance accountants as a whole but over 60% of Accodex Partners have started a business other than their freelance accounting practice. Freelancers have this in their nature, they are business owners like you. They have tried, they have failed and they have succeeded but the bottom line is they have real-world experience. They threw away their cushy, salaried roles at big firms and they built their business from the ground up.
Now, both accountants can produce a discounted cash flow analysis or an annual budget but only one can speak from experience. Only one has walked a mile in your shoes and only one truly understands the hardships of running your own business. So when you choose your business advisor, don’t just stick with the brand you know because many of the people behind that brand are raw and their confidence is misplaced. Meet with the boutique firms, meet with the freelancers, meet with an Accodex Partner, you might just find they are exactly what you are looking for.
“Over 60% of Accodex’s partners have started a business – outside of their own accounting practice”
Written By: Patrick De Ruvo
Chief Technology Officer