Paying for professional advice when you start a business will save you money later on.

So what advice is worth paying for? The answer to this question really depends on the kind of business you run.

For example, if you’re an accountant running your own business, you know your way around a profit and loss statement and understand the difference between capital gains tax and payroll tax. You might need help with web design, marketing or creating the perfect advertisement to attract new customers.

On the other hand, if you’re a digital marketing guru, you’re always up-to-date with the latest changes in SEO algorithms, but might need professional help to lodge your tax return or Business Activity Statement (BAS).

The key is to know your strengths and consider paying for expertise in areas where you might not have the skills or qualifications to achieve the best results for your business. Here are some general areas where is may be worth consulting a professional.

Tax advice

Tax rates are always changing and tax deductions can be confusing to the untrained eye. If you’re paying someone to lodge your tax return or BAS, it’s important they’re a registered agent. This means they are fully qualified, bound by a code of conduct and the documents they lodge on your behalf will be protected under their professional indemnity insurance.

Using an unregistered agent could put your business at risk. Check whether your agent is registered by looking for the registered agent symbol and use the Tax Practitioners Board’s online register to search for your agent. Contact the Tax Practitioners Board if you discover the agent you’re using is unregistered.

Financial advice

You might decide to consult with an accountant or financial adviser if you want help getting your head around setting up a company, small business loans, debt consolidation, budget management or other financial aspects of your business.

It’s important to find a certified accountant or financial planner, which means they have a licence to provide financial advice. Not all financial advisers work in the same way. Some depend on commissions through banks or financial institutions and will only recommend certain products or solutions, while others are more independent but might have a different code of ethics or pay structure.

Read our guides on choosing an accountant or financial lender for more information.

Legal advice

There’s no doubt the world of business law is complex. A lawyer can help you to review and negotiate your business contracts, leases and other documents to make sure you’re doing all the right things in terms of law, legislation and compliance.

For advice on how to find the right lawyer read our guide: Choosing a lawyer.

Marketing advice

If your idea of branding is throwing something together in Word or PowerPoint, you might benefit from sales and marketing advice. You can find a range of expertise on branding, web design, copywriting, graphic design, digital marketing, social media marketing and more from a growing number of agencies or independent freelancers. If you need advice on the creative elements of your business, take a look at our tips for finding the right contractor.

Getting the right advice can make a big difference to the way you run your business. To learn more, take a look at our practical information guides or make use of our free business advisory service.

Starting and growing
25 January 2022