Kate asked the following question:
So i know you need a good lawyer and accountant to help make sure everything you are doing is right and legal. But how do you go about finding a good one? What should we look for/stay away from? and how much should the services cost? what is ‘too good to be true’ cheap and overpriced?
There is no hard and fast rule to finding and choosing an attorney or accountant for your business. That said, the last place I’d look if I were you is the Yellow Pages. However, searching on the Internet is not necessarily a bad idea.
To figure out whether or not a lawyer or accountant is charging reasonable rates, your best bet is to ask a number of them for their rates to do a comparison as well as ask colleagues in your industry for their thoughts.
Is there a way to know if a lawyer or accountant is a scammer? Check with your Better Business Bureau to start, ask others for their opinions, do a search on the Internet for their names, and check with their local trade association to make sure there are not any complaints against them.
Here are some tips for finding the right professionals to help you with your business.
1. Colleague Referrals - If you know someone else in business, find out who they use and if they are happy with them. Satisfied clients are a great gauge.
2. Professional Referrals - If you have an attorney you like, see if they can refer you to a good accountant and vice versa. Chances are they associate with compatible professionals, and that might work out well for you.
3. Business Associations - In addition to your local Chamber of Commerce listings, check into your local bar or CPA associations to see if they offer a local referral service.
4. Online Referral Services - Check out a Web-based search tool such as Find Law’s Lawyer Directory or Lawyers.com. For CPA’s, try CPADirectory.com. The key is that the referral service should not be charging you for searching but instead charge the professional for listing.
I found my accountant when she gave a speech at a women’s business networking lunch. In turn, she referred me to an attorney she knew who had an office right next to hers. Both have worked out really well.