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Glasgow Business . 39 39

working with depends very much on your business needs,” she said. “You might find that you need a full service firm which can do the employment law, the company secretary and the dispute work – or you might find that you have much more of a niche business.” Whatever you are looking for, the balance

between cost and quality is a key issue, says Donald MacKinnon, Director of Legal Services at the business support organisation Law at Work. “You need to weigh up that balance,” he

said. “It’s not about going for the cheapest option, but making sure you get the best value. For example, a fixed fee model might work beter for you rather than accepting the more traditional form of hourly billing, but make sure it’s clear what is included in the service.” Alan Cameron, Executive Director of

investment management firm Quilter Cheviot, said that finding a local service can also help to ensure the relationship works well. “Building a personal, one-on-one

relationship with your investment manager is very important and works best if you go to a firm which is based locally,” he said. “An investment manager should also be

able to build an effective working relationship with the client’s other professional partners, whether that’s an accountant or a solicitor. You want them to be able to communicate well

“Speak to a few potential advisers to help

Speak to a few potential advisers to help you decide which is right for you. Also ask if you can speak to an existing client

with each other and pull in the same direction for the benefit of the client.” But once you’ve identified your specific

needs, how do you go about finding the correct match in your adviser? Tat’s where your networking comes into play, and taking advantage of any professional associations or contacts who can provide word of mouth recommendations and talk about their own experiences. Talk to a variety of people and see if any common names come up. And in the online world, an adviser’s website can also offer information about the range of services they offer, but also in terms of client testimonials. Whatever you’re looking for, be sure to

shop around, said Karen Barret, Chief Executive of the professional adviser search website

you decide which is right for you,” she said. “Also ask if you can speak to an existing client and see how the adviser has helped that business.” Another useful source of information should be your bank, says Jim Lockhart. “It should be able to recommend

professional advisers who are a good match not only for the client but also in terms of the banking relationship,” he said. “Some advisers are much beter placed to provide the banks with what they need to support funding. If the business is looking to obtain or increase its funding, then it’s in the bank’s interest and the client’s interest to get the right adviser in there as well.” For an investment adviser, a key question to

ask is about their independence. “Te client should always ask if the adviser

is truly independent,” says Alan Cameron. “You might be able to find that out by doing some online research, but it wouldn’t be flagged up that easily, so it’s always best to ask them directly if they have an atachment to a unit trust company or any in-house financial planning.” But even when you think you may have found the right match, it’s important to be clear from the outset about the terms of the relationship.

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