There are many key players in the “Business Owner’s Sandbox.” One important rule I live by is to come from a place of abundance. I believe that no one person can, nor should be, a subject matter expert in all or even in several business activities. I like to welcome many people in to work with my business owner/CEO clients, inviting them to surround, advise, and support my clients with their unique strengths and expertise. Together, we focus on creating proactive strategies that optimize cash flow and maximize profitability.
You need more than a CPA and a bookkeeper. Here’s my recommendation for a team of trusted subject matter experts who should be included in your “financial sandbox” and their roles:
- Bookkeeper: records the day-to-day financial transactions for your business and produces “financials with integrity.” (If these records aren’t correct, no one on the team will be working with accurate numbers, including your CPA.)
- CPA: manages tax compliance and keeps you off of the IRS’s radar.
- Payroll company (Yes, I believe you should outsource your payroll!): ensures compliance with all payroll tax requirements at federal, state, city, and county levels.
- Financial advisor: helps you create personal wealth and plan for retirement.
- Banker: helps you to be “bankable” should you need to get a loan or line of credit, or restructure debt.
- Cash flow consultant/CFO: (This is the place I position myself.): helps you follow the movement of money into and out of your business with a very proactive view into the future.
Often a business owner will work with a trusted advisor who serves multiple roles. For example, it’s common for a CPA to offer bookkeeping, payroll, and tax services. The challenge here is that you are putting all your eggs into one basket. Where are the checks and balances if you trust only one person to do an expert job in several critical areas?
I’ve been in your shoes, and I know that business owners/CEOs like convenience and feeling comfortable. They don’t want a lot of consulting experts getting in their way—and they don’t like conflict. But if you can’t make payroll, or can’t pay your taxes, you’ll be awake all night.
Surround yourself with subject matter experts who can support you with their particular expertise. Hold frequent financial conversations with them and let them disagree. Respectful conflict and diverse opinions feed the CEO perspective, helping to ensure your financial stability.