No matter how financially savvy you may be, there will inevitably come a time when you need to assemble a team of highly qualified professionals to assist you in reaching your goals. Naturally, you will want to find the most talented individuals who are an appropriate fit for your specific situation. While it may be easy to find financial professionals who are willing to work with you, the challenge lies in identifying those with the expertise to truly benefit you and your business.
Here are the kinds of individuals you will need on your own personal “dream team” of financial experts:
1) Accountant – If you are only hiring an accountant to prepare your annual tax return, you are doing yourself – and your business – a huge disservice. Accountants are useful in so many more ways than simply making sure you pay as little as possible to Uncle Sam. A talented accountant can help you see your company’s financial “big picture” and plan accordingly. By law, accountants must have taken and passed their state’s Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and be licensed with the state. In addition, all tax preparers must be enrolled with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and possess a Preparer’s Tax Identification Number (PTIF). By reviewing an accountant’s additional credentials, you can best determine if their expertise matches your specific needs. If a CPA possesses a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation, they have received training in financial planning for individuals. Chances are you will be looking for credentials for business accounting and tax advising. These are issued by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation.
2) Financial Planner – Whether you are saving for retirement or striving to set aside money for a child’s college education, a financial planner is an invaluable member of your financial dream team. You’ll want to hire a planner whose expertise matches your personal needs. Do your homework by visiting the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors ( NAPFA) or Financial Planning Association (FPA) websites.
3) Investment Advisor – As a business owner, chances are you fall into the “high-net-worth individual” classification. That means you likely require special expertise when it comes to investments. While you are surely getting investment advice from your financial planner, an investment advisor (aka money manager) can provide more personalized expert advice. An investment advisor can help you plan to meet specific financial goals or deal with a complex financial situation. In addition, they can guide you as you invest in assets other than venture capital, hedge funds, private equity or other such “off-the-shelf” products. One of the best ways to find the appropriate investment advisor for your team is to ask your financial planner who they would recommend. Be sure to look for the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, which is akin to a graduate degree in investing.
4) Estate-Planning Attorney – No one wants to think of themselves dying, but preparing for business continuity following their passing is something all business owners must undertake at some point. While you may be tempted to go the “do-it-yourself’ route, experts caution that going with websites like Legal Zoom can result in costly mistakes. In addition, they don’t offer the kind of invaluable guidance that can be gained from a professional. An estate-planning attorney will not only help you assemble the right legal documents, they will provide guidance on such issues as power of attorney and trusts. They can also provide highly valuable advice with regard to laws dictating estate taxes and help you plan accordingly.
Need help identifying the right financial professionals for your business? Contact Daley and Associates. We offer superior recruiting and placement results, specializing in auditing and financial placement.
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