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Do You Need Help With Your Startup's Finances?

How to choose a financial advisor
August 20, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/22746

Business Start-Ups magazine, December 1998

Are you overwhelmed by all the details of your start-up? "New businesses are often underfinanced and don't realize it until it's too late," cautions Hugh Kellogg, a financial advisor in Evanston, Illinois. "A qualified financial advisor can help design a business plan and a realistic budget to avoid surprises." Once your business is underway, a financial advisor can also help you improve cash flow, increase profits--and maybe even enjoy early retirement.

Kellogg, a former Arthur Andersen CPA, says, "It's important to choose someone with a broad range of experience. A CPA might know about taxes and financial statements, but generally isn't familiar with investment securities, business plans, debt management, insurance and retirement planning."

To find a good advisor, get referrals from friends, business associates and professionals (such as your attorney or accountant), or call the International Association for Financial Planning (888-806-PLAN). Fees generally range from $100 to $300 an hour; there usually is no charge for the initial meeting. Before making an appointment, interview several advisors by phone. Ask these questions:

To verify an advisor's designation as a CFP, call the Board of Standards (303-830-7543); as a ChFC or CLU, call American College (800-368-4684); as a CPA, call the American Institute of CPAs (212-596-6200). To determine SEC registry, call (800) 732-0330.

Paul DeCeglie (MrWritePDC@aol.com)is a former staff reporter for Journal of Commerce and American Banker.