In February of 2014, I wrote a blog post titled “Financing a Small Business: 4 Items to Remember.” Over the next few weeks I’m going to expand on the 4 things from that post, plus a bonus 5th item that came to me later.
Today is Part 2: Work with Your Accountant
Good accountants and tax preparers can be excellent resources for business owners. I know good bankers, attorneys, investment advisors and insurance agents that I can refer the owner too. (I also know some “not good” bankers, attorneys, investment advisors and insurance agents that I can steer you clear of.)
Most people don’t realize that their accountant can be this type of resource.
As always, most of the blame for this lies with accountants for not telling our clients about all the things we can do for them.
When looking for a business banker, what should you look for? My experience with business bankers has been a mixed bag. Here are 2 things I look for when determining whether or not a banker belongs on my “good” list:
- Experience with businesses and familiarity with basic business terminology. A lot of times I’ll use terminology as a quick test to weed out the bad bankers. I can spot a clueless business banker by looking at their expression when terms such as “Schedule C” are used. (Schedule C is the reporting form used by sole proprietors; it’s a common term and a banker who works with businesses should not look confused when it’s used.)
- Professionalism. For me, this is more than just looking at the banker’s appearance and conduct. The key on professionalism (for me) is: is the banker thinking about the needs of the business, or is the banker just trying to hawk additional products? Some banks require their bankers to be constantly selling and pitching products. This isn’t really the banker’s fault because they’re just doing what they’re told, but that would be a bank I would not go to for a loan.
I take my professional network seriously. If a professional (banker, attorney, investment advisor) doesn’t meet my high standards, I will not refer clients to them. Period.
And yes, I have a formula I use to evaluate these connections.
Most accountants probably don’t go that that nerdy of an extreme, but the point is, use your accountant as a resource when seeking financing for your business.
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