For as long as I can remember, I have taken an interest in the sport of track & field. I vividly recall spending two weeks of my summer break from elementary school, glued to the television watching the Olympics Games that were held in Beijing, China in 2008. At this particular Olympic Games, Usain Bolt became the fastest man on Earth. With an untied shoelace, Bolt broke the world record for the fastest 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash!
Recently, the World Track & Field Championships were held in Budapest, Hungary. The best athletes from across the globe gathered to compete over the course of several days. The running events, particularly the relay races, prompted me to think about the elite business professionals and individuals that I would recommend small business owners recruit to their business “relay team.” A relay team is made up of four “legs.” Each leg runs a set distance, as the baton is passed around the track from runner to runner. A successful relay team requires synchronization, communication and teamwork to yield the fastest and most efficient run. So, runners take your mark, get set… GO!
First leg: You are certain you have a winning business idea, but you have no idea where to start. One of the first decisions to be made is which form of legal identity your business will take on. Liability, ownership, flexibility, and most importantly, taxes will be affected by the organization of your business, so it is imperative you recruit a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to your business team to help you navigate both the short-term and long-term impacts of your decision making.
Once your business is booming, the CPA on your team can aide in maintaining accurate books to produce meaningful financial reports and statements. Maintaining accurate books is vital in preparing required reports related to payroll, sales tax and state and local tax returns. Accurate books will also help in keeping your tax preparation fee low. A proactive CPA on your team will stay abreast of current tax laws, while planning for the future so there are no surprise tax bills at year-end or years to come.
Second leg: You have formulated a business plan with your CPA, now it is time to add an attorney to your lineup. Upon business formation, we advise our clients to consult with an attorney. Attorneys and CPAs consult one another and communicate, making your team robust. An attorney can review your business plan and make recommendations to ensure your business has a solid foundation. Having a knowledgeable expert, like a business attorney on your side will bring you peace of mind, as they are a trusted advisor and a powerful advocate. If the going gets tough, an attorney will be your MVP.
Third leg: Your business has taken off, and it’s profitable! What’s next? Engage a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or CFP® Professional to join your squad of business professionals. Your CFP® professional will take a comprehensive look at your investments, business planning, and tax planning to help you achieve your financials goals. The CFP® practitioner on your team is complimentary to the CPA position. A proactive approach from both team members can help you optimize your tax planning strategies. You have dedicated countless hours and your energy into growing your business, you deserve a stress free retirement, and a CFP® professional can help you achieve just that.
Fourth leg: As a small business owner, you may need operational or emotional support from family members, friends, and the local community to thrive. In track lingo, they call this the “anchor leg.” The anchor leg is typically the fastest on the team and is responsible for the making up ground or securing the lead. Personally, I have many friends with an entrepreneurial spirit, and for them, emotional support is just as valuable as financial support. Furthermore, support from the local community is imperative. A “like” or share on social media can go a long way. A small business’ community ties and a strong support system is the “anchor” and vital for a prosperous business.
Don’t jump the gun, carefully craft your team of business professionals. If you are thinking about opening a business, or if you have already established a business, it is not too late, consider contacting a CPA or a CFP® professional to begin building a team to lead your business towards the finish line!
Published in the Victoria Advocate
Carlee H. Gibbs, CPA is a staff accountant for Keller & Associates CPAs, PLLC.