Who are your expert advisers?
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We all need a team of supportive people around us in life, to believe in us and encourage us in our endeavours. When it comes to matters of business and finance in particular, there are a number of specialists out there who can help. So who might you need on your team, and what can they do for you?

Financial Planners

A financial planner will work with you to explore and articulate your long-term goals, and I don’t mean just in terms of money.

They should help you take stock of where you are now, both in terms of your financial position and the lifestyle you currently have. There are often trade-offs to be made, and facilitating this discussion is an important role of your financial planner, who will help you to understand the impact of your decisions and what you value most.

Next will be putting in place a “financial road map” that sets you on a course to making the changes required to achieve your desires. This may or may not include recommendations regarding appropriate investment vehicles and strategies.

Perhaps one of your financial planner’s most important roles, however, is that of coaching or guiding you, and ensuring you remain disciplined and accountable. They should ensure that your knowledge of financial matters is growing and that you are more confident and in control of your finances.

Accountants

At the most basic level, an accountant will prepare and lodge your tax return for you each year.

Accountants can also provide guidance around more complex tax issues, and as financial planners are generally not authorised or qualified to provide specific taxation advice, they will often work together with your financial planner. Such issues might include the calculation of capital gains tax should you be intending to sell investments such as shares, the most tax-effective means by which to purchase a car, or the most tax-effective structure for you to operate a business under.

If your dreams and aspirations involve running your own business, an accountant may also offer advice on how to free cash flow within your business and raise capital for expansion. They should also be able to offer proactive suggestions of how you can operate more tax efficiently.

Lawyers

A lawyer specialising in estate planning can assist you with drafting wills, powers of attorney, guardianship arrangements and ensuring that your estate is passed to your intended beneficiaries. Generally, they will liaise with your accountant and financial planner to ensure that these arrangements are structured in a tax-effective manner.

Some lawyers focus on business matters, including the planning of business succession – that is, how to plan for the transfer of business ownership in the event of retirement, sale, or unexpected death or illness. It is crucial that these areas are addressed to ensure maximum value is retained. Again, they will generally work in partnership with your accountant and financial planner.

Lawyers can also provide practical business legal advice around issues such as commercial leases, human resource contracts and ownership structures.

Family lawyers

Family lawyers work with individuals who are in de facto relationships or married, primarily providing advice, negotiation and relevant legal documentation about matters including the protection of financial assets when entering into a relationship and also (but hopefully not) divorce and financial settlement matters. This may involve arranging binding financial agreements and/or pre-nuptial agreements.

Business coaches

Business coaches help business owners unlock the dormant opportunities in their businesses. They encourage business owners to articulate where they want to take their businesses and focus on the things that will have the most impact on their success.

A business coach may ask you high-level questions to help draw you out of your day-to-day “busy-ness” and refocus on your big picture. This can be a challenging exercise for some, but is also an inspiring experience that brings the motivation to propel the organisation through change.

Once you have re-identified your big picture, a business coach will help you break it down into a strategic plan consisting of clear, measurable objectives and an action plan to achieve those objectives.

Once your plan is in place, they can help you to maximise your chances of success by keeping you accountable to your vision at all times, being a trusted and reliable sounding board, and guiding you in different aspects of your business.

As you can see, there are myriad people out there in roles specifically designed to help you achieve your business and financial goals, and I have only touched on a sample.

But how to find the right person? I’ll be providing some tips in my next article.

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