4 ways a financial adviser can help small business owners


Many small business owners aren't financial experts, which is where financial advisers come in. They can have a mammoth impact on your business — so here are four tips for choosing and using a financial adviser. 

At a glance

Here's a snapshot of the tips from our interviewee:

  • Financial advisers can be useful either at key moments or on an ongoing basis.
  • It's worth seeking financial advice before taking out a loan or securing income insurance.
  • A financial adviser can help you see what's coming in and going out of your business, and ways you can grow over time.
  • Find an adviser who's qualified, independent, has experience in your field – and who you like.
By Caroline Riches

Small business owners tend to be experts at creating and marketing their products or services but may be less savvy about insuring their business, structuring their taxes, creating a growth plan and deciding when to take out a loan. 

The world of corporate finance can be daunting to navigate, but small business owners don’t have to do so alone. Seeking help – either at pivotal moments or on an ongoing basis – can have a dramatic effect on the growth and sustainability of your business. 

Ross Muller worked as a financial adviser for over a decade before setting up food and wine tour business Vino Rosso Tours in the NSW Southern Highlands in 2021. 

Having been both an adviser and a business founder reaping the benefits of expert financial advice, he says it offers peace of mind and can spell the difference between survival and growth. 

“While accountants are looking backwards and doing your books and taxation, a financial adviser is being more strategic about the future and helping you put in longer-term plans.” 

Here are four ways financial advisers can help you, and tips for choosing the right one for your business.

1. Provide advice on insurance and loan products

Many business owners consult a financial adviser when seeking income insurance or a business loan, which Ross agrees is a great idea. 

“When you’re looking at taking out a loan, an adviser will be looking at whether you can afford it and what will happen if interest rates go up,” he says. “They’ll be able to discuss implications and scenarios with you.”

“A financial adviser is being more strategic about the future and helping you put in longer-term plans.” 

An adviser can also help you review options when it comes to income insurance. 

“While income insurance is provided through superannuation, it’s generally a stock-standard policy and needs to be reviewed regularly, especially if you’ve changed jobs,” says Ross. 

“Now I’m in a more physical role where I’m on a farm and driving, I’ve had to review my insurance to make sure I’m covered if something happens.” 

2. Do a stocktake on your business  

One of the main things an adviser will do is make you aware of what money is coming in and going out. 

“They’ll look at ways to track and review your spending,” says Ross. “Meeting up once or twice a year to go over everything is invaluable.” 

If you’ve reviewed your spending and have identified a future shortfall, consider how a Prospa Small Business Loan could boost your business’s finances. 

3. Maximise your tax benefits 

Ongoing advice on what you can claim at tax time, either from a financial adviser or accountant, is essential, says Ross. 

“There are so many things you can do to minimise and manage your tax. Business owners have so many questions, such as: Do we buy this asset? How do we structure it? How much money do we take out of the business? Do we invest back into the business?  

“An adviser can help you with all of this.” 

4. Help you at key moments 

It’s at pivotal life moments when financial advisers can be worth their weight in gold. 

These may be when you retire and want to sell the business when you receive inheritance, when children are born, when a spouse dies, or when you take on a significant amount of debt such as a mortgage or loan. 

You’re looking for a business person you can learn from over time.” 

“If you were to sell the business, an adviser can help you make decisions on how to manage that money – whether to make tax-effective contributions to super or to explore other options, for example,” says Ross.

How to choose the right financial adviser 

You want a licensed adviser with the right qualifications and experience, someone who’s independent and recommends a diversity of products from different providers, and someone who you actually like, suggests Ross. 

Recommendations are always a great way to start. 

“Speak to people you know and shop around,” says Ross. “Someone can be a fantastic adviser but you may not like their style. You need to find someone you can be vulnerable with. And some advisers even specialise in certain niches, such as start-ups.” 

Never feel pressured to commit in the first meeting and make sure the adviser is up-front on fees, he adds. 

“Most advisers won’t charge for the initial consultation or if they do, it’s offset against later fees. There should be clarity about what they can do and what they’re going to charge. If some of these things aren’t clear, look elsewhere.” 

While a financial adviser can be invaluable at pivotal moments, they can have the greatest impact when they stay with you over the long term. 

“You’re looking for a business person you can learn from over time,” says Ross. “Rather than just taking advice, you want there to be a strategic and ongoing discussion.” 

If you would like to understand these tips better or are unsure about how they might apply to you, reach out to a qualified financial adviser. 

Ask a Prospa specialist about how a Prospa Small Business Loan can help support your business in times of uncertainty and make the most of growth opportunities. 

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