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What can a financial adviser do for your business?

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From tax and succession planning to pensions and benefits, here’s how a financial planner can help your business.

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Could a financial advisor help your business?

Running a business can be tricky, and financial planning is crucial to make sure your venture returns a profit over the long term. Whether you’re just starting out, hiring your first employees, or even looking to expand to new markets or regions, a financial adviser can help guide you towards success.

What is a business financial adviser?

A financial adviser or financial planner is a firm or individual who gives advice relating to money matters. This could be personal advice, for instance around savings, investments and pensions, or it could be advice that’s related specifically to your business, such as tax strategies, succession planning and even employee benefits.

These unsecured and secured loans could help you grow your business, cover running costs or even fund a new company.

While terms like Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), financial planner and wealth manager are all often used interchangeably, they mean different things. So, it’s important to understand what you need before choosing who to work with.

Types of adviser


An Independent financial adviser is not tied to any specific financial institution, meaning they can give impartial recommendations for financial products across the whole of the market. An IFA will be regulated by the FCA and needs to hold certain qualifications.

Tied or restricted adviser 

These advisers can be restricted in terms of the types of products they advise on (e.g. only mortgages), the number of providers they choose from, or both. Tied advisers are regulated by the FCA. They may need specific qualifications related to the area of finance they specialise in.

Certified financial planner 

A financial planner looks beyond product recommendations designed to solve specific problems. Instead, they start by understanding your short- and long-term priorities to come up with a plan for your business or personal finances. They may recommend a suite of products across different financial areas to achieve your aims and will advise on whether you are on track to meet your goals. Any financial adviser can call themselves a financial planner, so you should look for companies that hold a CISI-certified financial planner qualification.


An accountant can help you with crucial areas of finance, such as financial reporting, compliance, payroll, tax efficiency, bookkeeping and accounts.

What services can I get from a business financial adviser? 

Different types of financial advisers offer different services, so it’s important to think about what you need before engaging a professional. Typical services that might be on offer include:

  • Financial planning: This creates a financial plan for your business based on your long-term goals and business objectives, then tracks your company performance against these goals and suggests changes around budgeting or cash-flow management

  • Shareholder protection: This helps you navigate solutions such as cross-option agreements, business wills and business powers of attorney to protect the company from the loss of key employees or the death of a partner

  • Employee benefits: This creates a clear remuneration strategy and looks at employee benefits solutions, such as flexible benefits, salary sacrifice arrangements, private health insurance, mental health solutions, financial well-being benefits and Group Life, Income Protection and Critical Illness insurance policies

  • Workplace pensions: This provides business owners and employees with tax-efficient retirement solutions that comply with auto-enrolment regulations

  • Tax allowances and efficiencies: This includes how to take an income from your business in the most tax-efficient way, manage your profits and grow your business

  • Commercial finance: This sets out how to access funding for property or equipment

  • Personal finances: This looks at your financial situation as a business owner, including mortgages, protection, investments, savings, pensions and estate planning

  • Business exit strategies: This explains how to protect your family in the event of death and pass on the business in an inheritance-tax-efficient manner, prepare for the sale of the company, or use the business to generate an income in retirement

Should a business have a financial adviser?

Not all successful businesses have financial advisers. You may find that you can get by just using an accountant or accountancy software, or even that you’re happy to do all your finances in-house. However, the right financial planner can bring you peace of mind that you’re on track to reach your goals, reduce risk in your organisation and make sure that you’re getting the most out of your company.

Key benefits of working with a business financial adviser

  • Access to legal and regulatory expertise

  • Objective perspectives on key decisions

  • Reduces the risk of mistakes

  • Provides specialised knowledge around complex financial areas, such as tax, pensions and estate planning

  • Frees up time to spend on profit-generating activities

  • Facilitates access to funding and capital

How to find a financial planner for your business

The first stage in identifying a financial adviser is to understand your needs. If you just want help with payroll matters and setting up a business, an accountant may suffice. If there’s a specific financial problem or product you’re considering, you may only need a one-off appointment with an IFA. If you want a long-term financial plan with regular check-ins, a certified financial planner is probably right for you.

Once you’ve decided on the type of advice, there are several things you should consider when choosing a firm. These are:

  • Regulation: Check that the firm is regulated, typically by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

  • Qualifications: Make sure that the adviser has the right qualifications and plenty of experience in the areas you need. Read testimonials and check online to see whether the firm is well-regarded

  • Independence: Ask whether your adviser is independent or restricted before you engage them

  • Fees: Different firms use different models when calculating their charges. Some charge a percentage of assets under management, others may charge a set fee,  while others ask for a retainer or charge an hourly rate for their services. Compare several providers to get the best value

  • Approach: Most advisers and planners outline their approach on their websites. Check that it suits your way of working and that the firm’s goals align with your own

  • Rapport: Financial advice is a relationship built on trust. You need to feel comfortable discussing your personal and business finances and goals. If your rapport doesn’t feel right after the initial meeting, try a different provider

The costs of financial advice for businesses

The costs of business financial planning can vary significantly, so speak to your chosen provider to understand the costs. 

Things that can influence how much you’re likely to pay include the size and complexity of your business, whether it has employees, the financial services you need, where the adviser is based and how much experience they have.

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