business consultants or financial advisers – what’s the difference?

financial advisor pointing to a laptop and advising small business owner

Running any business is no easy task. Our entrepreneurial ‘DIY’ attitude is the reason many of us decide to get one off the ground but there may come times when a little help is required to steer the ship in the right direction.

When it comes to increasing the value of your company and making it successful, there are a number of ways to go about it. While both aim for the same outcome, working alongside a business consultant or a financial adviser may be worthwhile when it comes to achieving your goals. Let’s take a look at what each does to find out which expert may be right for you.

Financial advisers

Focusing on the funds (finances) of your business, a financial adviser is qualified to offer advice on how you should invest or spend your money. By monitoring trends and researching the marketplace they present appropriate products, services or investments that are intended to help secure future sales and increase the value of your business. These recommendations will be related to your business’ goals, which they’ll likely work with you to find if you don’t already have some in place.

Most, if not all advisers will carry a finance or business-related degree, but in New Zealand, all financial advisers are required to gain a Certificate in Financial Services and authorization from the Financial Markets Authority. They’re also required to complete at least 20 hours of professional development every year, as well as registering with a Dispute Resolution Scheme and listing themselves on the Financial Service Providers Register.

Business consultants

Rather than dealing specifically with your funds, business consultants look how your company is run; analysing it to discover underlying problems that they can recommend action on. Because many specialise in different areas, it’s not uncommon to find consultants that only work to find particular outcomes. For example, human resources consultants are able to find out if you have staffing inefficiencies, while logistics advisers can make recommendations on streamlining outgoing goods.

While it’s not necessarily required, it’s expected for a business consultant to hold a commerce or business-related or law degree at the very least. With directors and senior staff at O’Connell & Co all holding Commerce degrees and having vast experience in advising a wide range of business clients we are well placed to not only attend to your accounting & taxation requirements but also act as your business consultant.

While both advisers and consultants work in different areas, they both essentially share the same goal. By discovering areas for improvement, they aim to make your business as successful as possible. Whether that be restructuring your staff or making investments in infrastructure, their success and credibility are ultimately based on your business’.

As your business consultant, O’Connell & Co can offer advice on buying and selling a business, assist with setting performance targets, monthly management review of trading results, ways to grow your business and act as a sounding board for issues arising within your business.

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