I mentioned the IVAA Oz Coffee Chat we had the other night and the discussion about a number of VAs losing a major client.
One of the other things discussed that night was finding a suitable Accountant for our businesses.
I’m amazed at the number of VAs who don’t have an Accountant. When you’re new in business chances are the only thing you know to do well is the service you are offering, be it word-processing, transcriptions, social media support, and so on. Few of us are across the requirements the tax dept places upon us as business owners and it’s important we get the right information from the right sources.
VA and other business discussion forums can give you good information and help you find out what you need to do to get your business running. They cannot advise you on anything of a legal nature, or in regards to your tax obligations. It is your responsibility as a business owner to get the right information from the right sources. So, where do you find those right sources?
If you already know an accountant, bookkeeper, solicitor then you can go to them for advice. However they might not be the right person for your business – it depends on what their specialties are. And if you don’t know anyone in those fields, then how do you determine who is ‘good’ from the Yellow Pages or from the web?
Networking is the answer. It’s always been the answer. What do I mean by that? Find local business networking groups in YOUR region. Why your region? Because they will have experienced similar things to you and know the people who can help you – they’ll know who to refer you to. There’s no point in networking online with someone in another state or country who is not familiar with your personal needs and requirements. They can only talk about their own experiences. In a local business networking group you can find out who are good accountants and solicitors, and be told of other resources that will help you with your business, such as IT support when your computer needs fixing, computer network/cabling when you need more hardware set up at home, someone who can help with your communication needs such as phone, mobile phone, answering system, voicemail, etc, etc. Are you getting the picture now?
This kind of networking works two ways – you find the resources for your business and some of those people will have a need for your services too.
Where will you find these groups? Try searching for some of these:
- BNI (Business Network International)
- Leads Club
- Chamber of Commerce
- Check with your local council – many run business networks
- Ask at the local post office or other places where business people will often visit.
I’m sure you will find some groups you can go visit and get a feel for how they work before deciding to join them. But go do it – you’ll find it a worthwhile exercise!