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  • Writer's pictureRoger Pierce

How to save money when hiring a lawyer or accountant

Find professionals you want to work with – and can afford

By Roger Pierce

You’ll need an experienced lawyer and a clever accountant to help you start and run your business.

A lawyer can make sure your business is set up properly and will do whatever possible to minimize potential risk. For example, you might want to trademark your new business identity to prevent a competitor from using it.

The accountant will make sure your finances are running smoothly and help you to minimize taxes. Many entrepreneurs turn to their accountant for business strategy, as well.

However, these experts can be expensive – try to save money on professional fees by following these suggestions:

1. Do some of the work yourself. If you hand an accountant a shoebox of receipts, or ask a lawyer to create a document from scratch, the professional will naturally need to do more work on your file – which will cost you more money.

Instead, do some of the work yourself – such as entering your receipts into basic bookkeeping software and sending the file to your grateful accountant.

2. Share your budget. Big invoices cause heart attacks, so consider disclosing your budget upfront. That information should allow the professional to openly communicate what he or she can or cannot do for the amount of money you have to spend.

3. Shop around. Don’t be shy about asking several different lawyers or accountants to supply an estimate for the work you want done. If you are quoted an hourly rate, ask the professional to estimate how many hours it will take to complete the file. Disbursements are extra costs beyond fees so be sure to ask about it.

Beyond money, however, is the importance of a good relationship with your lawyer and accountant. These two key advisors should be individuals you trust and respect. Before you hire anyone, take some time to get to know each person to get a sense of their fit with your personality and your business.

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