Business Professionals - A Brief Guide to CPAs, Lawyers, and Bankers

Please note that the information in this guide is not to be used as consulting, accounting, or legal advice. The following information is provided with the understanding that this article is not a substitute for professional advice, and is merely for informational purposes. is not responsible for the use of any information contained below or for the factual accuracy of any statements made below.

The Accountant

When dealing with complicated investments, your accountant quickly becomes an invaluable resource. As your business becomes exponentially more complex, so do the tax issues involved. Before you begin to take the next step toward becoming a business owner, you must hire a good accountant or CPA. The United States tax code has undergone a myriad of revisions and changes to a point that it is nearly impossible for a non-accountant to have a full comprehension of our nation’s tax laws. At some point your business activities may go beyond the scope of your local CPA or accountant and you may need to enlist the support of a large accounting firm.

Your account can also assist you in the capital raising process by advising on the proper entity structures, the best methods of raising capital, and how to properly manage issues relating to the use of cash.

Accountants do a lot more than preparing tax returns. Your CPA is also a business advisor that has a wealth of knowledge related to the operations of a business and has many local/regional business contacts. Additionally, banks and investors like to see that you have hired a qualified CPA that will help you oversee the financial management of your business venture.

The Lawyer

Business venture and investment agreements require complex legal documents that must be drafted and notarized by an attorney. Your lawyer will also assist you in negotiating the proper terms with a potential investor, filing the legal documents with the proper federal, state, and local authorities (when applicable), registering your corporate name, and other issues that relate to the legal liabilities of the business.

Your lawyer can also help you draft legal disclosures, business contracts, and assist in developing methods that will reduce your legal liabilities (if applicable).

In many ways, your lawyer is your best friend in business. Any communications that you have with your attorney are completed privileged, and it is important to a have third party advice on matters that involve complex legal issues.

The Banker

Your banker will quickly become an important resource for capital if you decide to pursue your business venture with loan capital. Bankers are in the business of lending money, and when they see that you are a worthy credit risk they will hound you for your business. It is essential to realize that you are not at the mercy of a banker, and that you can often negotiate the terms of a loan when you are trying to close a commercial loan or large mortgage. If you plan on doing a lot of borrowing business with a bank, it is in your best interest to have your checking accounts and possibly your brokerage accounts with that institution. The more business you give a bank, the more valued a client you will become.  Independent bankers and brokers are often better at arranging financing since they have the ability to price loans with several different lenders. You may find that an independent loan originator or broker can offer a much wider scope of lending products than can your local bank. The independent banker will also work much harder to serve your needs as more often than not they are paid on a commission schedule and not a bank salary. It is important to shop around when you are getting a loan. The Internet is an excellent place to find people to assist you in financing needs.

If you go to a branch of your local bank, it is important to know that the nature of bank profitability is changing. Banks have a proclivity toward people that are willing to offer them more business than just standard banking. Fees are now a much more important aspect of today’s banking world since more often than not a bank will typically sell the loans that they offer to you. Our discussion about banking will be expanded in the real estate chapters.

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This is not a complete list of the people you may come across while building your business. If your business is involved with investing in real estate, you will encounter several other professionals that will assist you in the purchase, rental, and sale of income producing properties.

            Today, the benefits of the increased availability of financial information via the Internet have made the access to capital markets much more available to the entrepreneur. 

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