Entrepreneur Portal for Virginia's Growth Alliance Region

Trying to save money on professional services can cost you

Trying to save money on professional services can cost you

If you need help with something that should be done by a professional, you should get help from a professional.

Many people think that they can save money by doing the work of an attorney and accountant by themselves they will save money. If you have never been a lawyer or an accountant then acting as a lawyer and accountant will save your business money only if your time is worth nothing.

If you had a toothache you wouldn't go to the hardware store and buy a power drill. You would go to the dentist and get help from a professional with training, experience, tools and medicine.

Get a lawyer to help you set up your business, keep your lawyer's number for later.

A lawyer will help you determine what kind of business organization you should form. If you don't know what that means or you if can't explain the benefits of an LLC vs. a corporation then you should talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can help you register your business with the Secretary of State and can help draft documents for employment contracts and many other things that your business will need.

If your lawyer helps you get started and if you follow their advice you probably won't need them again until you decide to expand your business. However, if you do find yourself suddenly in need of legal advice you will already have a relationship with a lawyer that you trust. You never know when someone might decide to sue you.

Get an accountant to help you set up your bookkeeping system and to help with filing taxes.

A good accountant can help you devise an accounting system that will make managing your company's financial records a simple exercise. This will help you you stay sane while you are managing other aspects of your business.

Having a system in place will make it easier for you to file your taxes, or, if you decide to have your accountant handle your tax preparation, it will be much less expensive because your accountant will not have to spend time creating order from chaos when doing your books. Also, if you find yourself on the wrong side of an audit you will be glad to have an accountant to help you deal with the IRS.

Keep your Lawyer and Accountant Handy but don't stick your head in the sand.

You can learn how to do many of the same things a lawyer and an accountant can do for your business. Many people do run businesses without hiring the services of a lawyer or accountant. There are resources available to help you learn, and I encourage you to read them; more knowledge will help you make better decisions. However, unless you are in the business of providing legal or accounting services, you will probably not want to spend your free time learning the latest tax law changes and reading the latest court opinions on employment law.

Remember that your time is valuable and you have a business to run.

Take your business seriously and give yourself the respect you deserve as a business owner. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to be your own lawyer and accountant.

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