As a professional, I have all kinds of different clients who rely on me with significant variance. I have heard my clients say things like, “Oh, that’s why they have lawyers” and others respond with, “You will have to call my accountant and get him to talk to you about that.”

Don’t get me wrong, it is important for young businesses to get good advisors but at the same time, it is also important to get a grasp of the basics of accounting and the legal profession if you want to maximize your success and minimize your pain as an entrepreneur.

From the accounting perspective, this starts with knowing debits and credits, and progresses to an understanding of the components of a balance sheet (at least) as well as a basic understanding of how corporate and personal taxation works. From the legal perspective, knowing the purpose and basic applications for a shareholder agreement, share classes and how shares work, as well as incorporation vs. proprietorship, these are the basics, and information on all this stuff is only a Google search away.

The point is, while every entrepreneur needs good advisors, it is also important to know the basics of what professionals do for you so you better understand what they are charging you for, and so you do not have to over rely on them.

By Ellis Orlan, CPA (IL), CGMA, SF Partnership LLP, Toronto, ON, CYBF mentor, eorlan@sfgroup.ca

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