A team by definition is “a group of people that come together to work toward a common goal.” As a business owner, you the captain of your financial team, leading it towards the goal of running and growing a successful business. Once you have selected an attorney for your financial team, what should their role be? How should your attorney assist you as you make financial decisions for your business?
Here are 4 ways an attorney can work as a part of your financial team:
Communication: The attorney cannot be in a bubble. Rather, “We need to talk with each other,” explained George Megaloudis, founding member of Roach, Ioannidis & Megaloudis. A financial team needs to “communicate effectively with each other. We need to be sure we’re all working together for the same outcome,” Megaloudis advised. Establishing open and honest lines of communication between your attorney, CPA, and investment advisor will keep the entire team abreast of developments and help, not hinder, each other’s individual contributions.
Structuring the Business
Deciding how to structure your company is the important first step for any business. And as a business grows, that structure may need to be changed or revised. A lawyer is necessary to establish a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or corporation, which includes establishing shareholders and a board of directors.
Contracts are part of business. Therefore, your attorney should review each contract for language that might put you/your business at risk, and recommend changes that will add greater protection. When it comes to hiring and firing employees, your lawyer should also advise on whether an employee or independent contractor is the best route. Your attorney can also draft Non-Disclosure Agreements and employment contracts to protect the business’ interests. As a member of the financial team, the attorney will ensure all operations keep the business in compliance and avoid legal liabilities.
Unfortunately, complaints are a factor of doing business. From disgruntled employees, vendors or clients, to legal actions coming from local, state or federal agencies, having an attorney ready to respond when a summons appears is key. Ready legal assistance minimizes the disturbances a legal complaint brings. If your attorney is already an established part of the financial team, there’s no scrambling to find representation. Additionally, the attorney’s familiarity with your business will be to your benefit as the attorney mediates or litigates a settlement.
In conclusion, the attorney’s role is to be proactive in protecting the business. Today’s legal system is complex. Having a trusted legal advisor reviewing and engaged in the operations of the business can prevent many future headaches.