Let’s face it: Running a small business can seem overwhelming. From finding funding to finding clients, creating effective marketing efforts to dealing with rules and regulations, small business owners have a lot on their plates.
Fortunately, there are professionals who can help guide you through the ins and outs of small business ownership. Whether you’re considering starting a new business or want to grow your existing business, these key consultants can help.
Money Matters: The Accountant
Wait a minute, you may be asking yourself. Do I really need an accountant? Isn’t that what QuickBooks is for? While accounting software can certainly be a time-saver, it’s hard to discount the importance of financial integrity for any small business. In the long run, the money saved by using accountancy services will make the investment well worth it.
What can accountants do to help your business? If you’re in the start-up stage, an account can help you decide which type of business structure makes the most sense for your model. Will you operate as a sole trader or a company? Would a partnership or a trust offer more benefits to your business? Accountants can walk you through the pros and cons of each option so you can make a truly informed decision. After all, your structure will influence a number of other factors, such as how much tax you pay, your personal liability, which licenses you need, and more.
If your business is already operational, an accountant can ensure that your day-to-day transactions are recorded properly and remain within legal compliance, help oversee payroll, seek out cost savings with third parties and vendors, and even help you set up a financial safety net. If your business is in a growth stage, an accountant can help you plan cost-effective expansions, suggest ways to mitigate your tax burden, and create financial reports.
The other indispensable consultant every small business owner needs is a solicitor. A good business solicitor will advise you in a number of basic (and complex) legal matters that may arise, from zoning to copyright compliance to liability issues.
When you’re shopping around for a solicitor, keep the following skill sets in mind:
• Contracts: A solicitor can prepare contracts that you’ll need to use with customers, vendors, clients, or suppliers. They can also guide you through contracts that you need to sign.
• Structure: You’ve already consulted your accountant about the right business structure for your needs; now it’s time to talk to your solicitor! They can help you determine which business model makes the most sense for you from a legal perspective.
• Taxes and licenses: Your accountant can help you with your taxes, too, but your solicitor can help you register your business with the right government agencies and ensure you have the correct licenses and tax identification numbers for your specific needs.
• Real estate: Unless you’re working from home, you’ll probably need to lease or rent real estate to house your business. A solicitor can help ensure that you exercise your rights as a tenant, and review any paperwork or contracts you’re asked to sign.
• Intellectual property and copyright: If you creative anything as part of your business, a solicitor can help you protect your thoughts, ideas, and creations.
• Liability: Finally, and most importantly, a solicitor can help you protect yourself from liability.
By working with accountants and solicitors that specialize in small businesses, you’ll give yourself an advantage over the competition. Consider it an investment in your businesses’ future success!