Making sure you’ve surrounded yourself with the expertise of key trusted advisors, who care about your business and act proactively for you, is one of the best investments you can make in your business and financial future. Is it time to do a check to make sure you have the best key people in place?
Hiring the best residential and commercial mortgage broker
There’s a lot of competition in this sector today, so it pays to shop around. Making the wrong choice can cost plenty but the right choice will ensure you save on interest for years to come.
Look for a broker who is up-to-date and confident in the information they provide – who can not only answer all of your questions but who asks you plenty of their own so they know what you need and what you don’t.
Your broker should have a diploma in Financial Services Mortgage Broking; be accredited under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act; and be a member of either the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) or the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA), or both.
TIP: Many people mistakenly think that they need to have all of their debt with one provider. In fact, if you have a home loan, business loan and vehicle loans, it is actually wiser to spread your debt across different lenders, so that the loans are not cross-collateralised, especially against your home.
A case in point: One of our clients recently had his business foreclosed upon. Because he had all of his loans with the same provider the bank looked to recover the debt though his home and personal assets.
Make sure your accountant is working for you
It’s too easy to hire an accountant and then just stick with them, but it’s worth regularly reassessing if they’re still the best person for you and your business. Questions to think about include: Do they truly understand your industry? Are they working proactively to advise you or are merely responding to your requests?
Critically, are they so risk adverse that they might not be giving you important information about your options? In the example given above – where our client ran into trouble with his business assets and ended up losing his home too – this situation could have easily been avoided had he been better advised about risk mitigation. We, in fact, recommended forensic accounting some time beforehand, which could have prevented this unfortunate outcome, but unfortunately his accountant advised against it.
TIP: The thought of changing accountants is always more daunting than the actual reality. Get some referrals from trusted colleagues or friends and then talk to a few accountants and find out:
- Will come to your business to understand how it works and tell you how they can improve your bottom line?
- Do they speak your language? Or is it all accountant speak?
- Do they have the latest accounting software? (Cloud-based software such as Xero.
Getting the best legal advice
The best legal advice really depends on your personal situation, business and long-term goals, but important things to consider include whether your solicitor is keeping you across all of the important employment and tax information you need to be aware of, as well as long-term business and personal estate planning.
TIP: Not all lawyers work in marbled offices in the city. Find out how mobile a solicitor is before hiring them. Are they willing to travel to you outside of normal working hours if needed? Can they provide an indicative quote for work over the phone? As with your accountant, they also need to speak your language, rather than merely baffling you with legalese.
The importance of a good financial advisor
Finding the right financial advisor can be complicated and you need to be sure they are really going to be working in your best interests, rather than just trying to sway you toward gold-plated products. Check out the ASIC’s Money Smart Guide to Finding a Financial Advisor, which has lots of great advice, such as where to look and what questions to ask.
TIP: Not all financial advisors are the same and not all take a truly holistic view of your finances. It is important to be able to discuss your goals and objectives and have a financial roadmap for your future.
Questions to ask include:
- Do you feel comfortable discussing your personal situation with them and brainstorming ideas for the future?
- Do you feel confident that their advice comes from substantial experience?
- Will they travel to you rather than just holding meetings at their office?
- Do they understand both your personal and business requirements and can integrate both together?
When selecting your financial support team the best thing you can do is to always do your research beforehand and be willing to walk away if you are not comfortable with the service you are receiving.
For more information or advice call us on (02) 8268 2900 for an obligation-free chat.