Getting Business Advice Made Easy


Nick Roberts

I recently met a new client who had prepared a list of skills required in her business start-up. All the necessary skills were ticked except business planning, finance and marketing where she had written "Seek professional assistance". What a refreshing change, thought I, just concentrating on familiar areas and shying away from others to avoid getting it wrong.

So what advisers should you be listening to in your business?
  • A modern accountant who has the time and inclination to help you in your business and not just focus on historical annual financial statements, one that's prepared to roll-up his or her sleeves, come and see you and doesn't charge you for every minute. That accountant should have a minimum of 20 years experience and also run their own or other businesses.

  • A good commercial lawyer who is a bit of a generalist is also invaluable. Whilst they may look expensive they will save you far more in the long run, and when you've established a good working relationship, made them executor or trustee (and maybe referred a friend or two) they'll become good value. Like a good accountant, a good lawyer will be frank at the expense of his or her fees!

  • A local friendly and experienced bank manager is very worthwhile too. If your bank manager is wet behind the ears or operates out of Auckland it's time to move on!

  • A business mentor or coach can also be very worthwhile as accountability (often lacking in owner-managed businesses) is a huge motivator. Be wary of business coaches as quality varies so try a volunteer Business Mentor through Business Mentors NZ, see There's some truly excellent advice available in HB from a number of extremely experienced individuals, all for free (once you've paid the registration fee).
I'm always amazed at what poor level of service and advice those in business put up with, complaining but never taking action, often through blind loyalty. If you'd like to be put in touch with some excellent and honest advisers, just ask.

If you have any tax or business queries of any kind telephone 0800 ASK NICK, e-mail or use our form. The information in this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific advice.