Your strategic partners in business could be your best friends in business.
Yesterday I attended an annual conference for CPA (Certified Public Accountants) that was held near the Miami Florida area. I was there to meet with CPAs and accountants to see if a synergy exist between their efforts and mine. Throughout my business career I have always viewed my CPA as a strong and valuable ally. Actually as you build a business, there is a need to surround yourself with needed and necessary professionals. Accountants, Attorney, Insurance Agent, and depending on the type of business strong vendors are just a few of the business relationships that can help in the growing and running of a business. For me my CPA has been my most valued business relationship. Of course, if a business has trouble staying out of trouble maybe the attorney relationship would be most valued.
My business is based on the premise of reaching and working with business owners.
Accountants and CPAs really can be a “portal” to the business owner. Most all businesses use a CPA or an accountant and furthermore, the CPA / accountant knows how the business is doing. It shouldn’t be this way, but sometimes the CPA/accountant knows more about how the the business is doing than the business owner does. But this profession not only keeps business numbers in order, but become a sounding board for the business owner. Along with the organization of the businesses P&L, Income Statement and or Balance Sheets, comes, financial and investment advise. And I think it is easier and more enjoyable to be providing such advise during good times as opposed to todays current economic climate.
It was a great opportunity to listen and hear how businesses are really doing over a broad spectrum. And as we are mired in our current economic slowdown CPA’s and accountants are feeling the effects both directly and indirectly. They have a client (ie a small business owner), that business declines, closes, and the accountant now has one less client.
Another CPA spoke of a client that was a Doctor with a practice and had been working with the CPA on a plan to retire next year and has seen his 401K and net worth decline so much that he doesn’t know how long he will now have to be working to reach his financial retirement goals.
Also on attendance were many suppliers of financial services, both the regular “banks”, but also several “non traditional money lenders” offering Lines of credit to small businesses that show little or no cash flow but may have some assets to provide as security. Accounts Receivable loans for businesses to make a business acquisitions or improve cash flow. They essentially were offering solutions that CPAs in turn can expose their clients to. Even in bad times opportunities are created.
Being that I am in the business of buying and selling businesses, I also had several discussions with CPAs and Accountants that were looking to maybe acquire another Accounting firm to add to their existing business. They viewed this economic downturn as a potential opportunity to benefit by acquiring another accounting firm and growing clients and revenues by acquisition.
I continue to view CPAs and Accountants as a strong strategic alliance, both for the benefit of running my business and also growing my business.