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Should you hire a financial advisor or is an accountant enough?

What's the difference between the two in terms of services? Is hiring a business or financial advisor better to work on cash flow, financial planning and business growth?

Top voted answer
Tim Stokes

Tim Stokes, Managing Director at Profit Transformations

You're mixing up a few points in one question as I see it. 

A financial advisor has little to do with businesses. A financial advisor is a financial planner and an accountant is not a financial planner, its a completely different industry.

If you can find a qualified accountant and financial planner then that's a person who can talk business financials.

A financial advisor/planner is typically not a business advisor either, hence my opening comment. 

If you're looking for business growth assistance then a business mentor is a better person to look for. Many accountants aren't able to provide regular business advice related to growth, such as marketing, selling, hiring salespeople or other employees etc. They tend to be limited to one small aspect of a business and that's financials as in tax and cash flow. There's far more to running, growing and managing a business than just financials. 
Business is about 3 core areas - generating sales, doing the work from the sale and getting paid for the sale. 

Think of these 3 areas as being like a 3 legged stool. If the leg length of the stool represented a dollar value, and the 3 legs represented sales income, production work in progress (as a dollar value) and cash that is banked, then in a business all 3 legs need to be fairly equal for the business to be balanced. 

In a business of say $1,000,000 revenue open and operating 50 weeks of the year then ideally the business would generate $20,000 in sales each week, carry out $20,000 in production each week and bank $20,000 from completed sales each week. 

By tracking figures for all 3 'legs' each week the business is now being 'managed' by the numbers. That's a simplified version.

An accountant will focus on one set of numbers relating to the one leg - cash flow, which includes Profit & Loss Statements etc. 

It depends on what your needs are as to what person you are best to see for assistance with growing your business.

If you'd like to get a clear idea of your personal finances with a financial plan for your future then a financial planner is the person to see. If you'd like to know tax implications of your financial position then an accountant is best to see.

If you want to grow your business a marketing person is good to see and engage. If you'd like some marketing assistance with general business growth understandings, plus a bunch of other topics such as insights into recruiting, systems, KPIs for roles, selling at higher prices and knowing what gross margin to sell services at, then a business mentor is your best person.

I hope that's been helpful in answering the question.