Taking Advice from the Right Professionals

If you have a toothache, you’re probably not going to go see your dermatologist. If you have back pain, a dentist probably isn’t the person to see. It’s the same thing with professionals involved in your business.

I recently met with a business owner who poised to take drastic and destructive steps – dissolving his protective entities to file paperwork that wouldn’t serve his business at all – on the misguided advice of his bookkeeper.

I always encourage my clients and my fellow attorneys to delegate to others the tasks that might not be the highest and best use of their time. For example, I *can* do my own bookkeeping, but it takes me a long time and I’m not great at it. So, I hired a bookkeeper. Now she handles a necessary task that isn’t my forte and I’m freed up to go do something I *am* good at – like advising clients NOT to take legal and tax advice from a bookkeeper.

Sometimes you don’t know the professional is screwing up until it’s too late. However, this particular client had ignored a few red flags, such as other professionals telling him he needed to fire his bookkeeper.

If a professional involved in your business is activating your spidey sense, pay attention and double check their work with a disinterested professional. If your bookkeeper is making you uneasy, fork over the dough to get an independent audit of your books. If your attorney is bothering you, schedule a consultation with another attorney and see if the advice even remotely relates. Granted, we professionals may have differences of opinion as to how someone can structure or operate his or her business, but there are some undeniable truths that can’t be ignored.

Above all, make sure you’re taking advice from professionals qualified to give it. I don’t give tax advice to my clients. Instead, I collaborate with CPAs. If your attorney is dispensing tax advice, make sure the attorney is qualified to do so. If your CPA is giving you legal advice, they should have a law degree somewhere on the resume. If you’re not sure, schedule a consultation with someone else. The hour or two you pay for to make sure you’re getting the right advice is worth every penny.