The success of a small business is dependent on many things with finding the right service providers being one key. Here are a few things to consider when selecting an attorney and accountant for your business.
What type of work does the provider specialize in? An attorney who works mainly on divorces or other litigation may not be the best choice to help you with contracts and employment issues. A big CPA firm will provide you with all the advice and services you need, but if the billing rates are so high that you hesitate to ask the question, then that is not the right accountant for your company. Asking what kinds of business experience the provider has is a good start as well as what specific industries or types of businesses they have experience with. If you are a small manufacturer, finding an accountant who has experience with manufacturing will be much more helpful than one who only works with retailers and service providers. You will want someone with an understanding of operations and margins and cash flow to assist you with running your enterprise. If your business will have patents or copyrights, you will want an attorney with experience in those matters. Asking for references is another good idea so you can talk directly with other clients of the accountant or attorney.
What rates does the provider charge? As stated earlier, if the rates are at an uncomfortable level for you, then you may be hesitant to make use of the accountant or attorney.
Are you comfortable with the provider? You need to be able to talk with your attorney or accountant and feel like they are listening to you and understanding your concerns. You don't want someone who doesn't take the time to hear all your concerns or ideas or who speaks condescendingly to you when responding to questions. Take the time to talk with a potential accountant or attorney long enough to determine if you will feel comfortable with him/her. If they are not interested in meeting with you as a potential client, then you know he/she isn't the right person for you.
You may not need to use the services of an attorney or accountant frequently, but you will definitely get better results if you do your homework ahead of time and pick the right one. Check with your local SCORE chapter or Small Business Administration office for suggestions. Talk to other business owners to see who they use and if they are satisfied with the service they receive.