About to start a business with 2 other business partners and we’ve been to see an accountant to make sure the structure is correct. We have each had a discussion separately and I would like to ask other people if they think it is wise for us to share the same accountant for our personal stuff?
Graham Doessel - CEO - MyCRA (Specialist Credit Repair) Lawyers (LPH)
Current Rating: 4.65 / 5
Good morning Carmel,
So in answering your initial question, YES it's probably a VERY good idea to each get independent financial AND Legal advice (from separate professionals) before undertaking any major life-changing decision or venture.
You've made a great start with checking out the structure from a financial point-of-view, now take a few minutes to get some commercial legal advice, separate to your business partners.
Just a few things you might like to think about (but definitely NOT limited to) include:
1. Shareholders/partnership Agreements (This was explained to me many years ago as "working out the divorce BEFORE you get married" - another way to look at it is simply putting on paper (correctly) who owns, does, doesn't do, is responsible for, etc, everything...
2. Asset protection
3. Your personal liability
4. Reporting (internal to and for each other, and external to ATO, regulators, stakeholders etc)
If we knew the business you were going into, perhaps we could be more specific.
I hope that helps you a little :-)
Not a problem to use the same accountant - unless there are issues within the group. Only time you need to have individual advice from separate accountant is where there is a conflict of interest. Your accountant should identify this to you, if it does come to be.
That said, not a major issue to have your own accountant. I'd suggest the key thing to consider is who YOU feel comfortable dealing with for your personal affairs.
having the one person dealing with everyone is almost certainly going to minimise confusion and provide the best chance for the accountant to achieve the best outcome for everyone.
I have clients that are part of a larger group, and I have found that sometimes the "group" accountant doesn't have all the information pertaining to ALL the members of the group, and hence sometimes one or more members dont get the best possible outcome
I also have clients that are handled all the way through as part of a large group, and I know that ALL the different aspects of all the members of the group are considered
they key here is COMMUNICATION. If there are numerous accountants, they all need to know what is going on and how things will impact their clients......
but what I think is MUCH more important to you than deciding who will do each persons tax return is ensuring open lines of communication between the partners. Nothing kills a partnership faster than secrets. You would be astounded over some of the minuscule grievances that get blown out of all proportion when one partner gets the idea that he is getting the short end of the stick.
Do not ignore your partners. Make time for them and make sure that you all talk to each other. Even to the extent of formalising a "partners meeting" where you do nothing but discuss strategic planning, big picture stuff, budgets and opportunities and threats etc........
I absolutely agree with Todds comments about conflicts of interest to:)
and good luck