How and When To Get More Professional Help

When Should I Get Professional Help, Where Should I Get It From

As we have explored throughout our pages, working for yourself, running a small business brings lots of different aspects to manage and be aware of.

We all have our own individual skill sets, some things come more naturally to some than others and we all have different things that we enjoy or dislike. This is no different when it comes to business, there will be some things that you enjoy doing and are good at and others that you dislike or simply are not your thing!

With somethings, we need to engage professional advice because of the importance of getting things right and others it simply is not efficient to do yourself because it is something you dislike and it makes you feel negative and demotivated.

There are some great membership organisations where you can get general support and guidance in many aspects of managing your small business. Imagine, a large corporation will have a specific department for accounting, HR, legal issues and so forth, as one person or a small team, it will not be feasible to employ a specialist in each of these areas. How can you keep up with changes in regulation? Where can you turn for an answer to something you are struggling to solve?

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

Federation of Small Businesses offer a wide range of vital business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government. As a small business, it can be really difficult to navigate all the aspects of business management and the support offered is invaluable

For more information on the benefits of joining, please contact local membership advisor, Yves on 07815 688757 or

Professional Bodies and Trade Associations

Depending on your business activities, there may be a professional body or trade association representing your industry. Such organisations can be a wealth of support and knowledge relevant to your activities and help you to keep abreast of changes in your industry and representing your industry to government

National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)

If you are a private landlord, the pace and speed of change in regulation can be difficult to follow, National Residential Landlords Association provide lots of information for Landlords as well as keeping you up to date on changes and representing Landlords to government

Annual membership is £75, to receive a £15 discount from your first year’s membership fee you can use our discount code DSG-228

“You can do anything but not everything.”

– David Allen

Engaging Specific Professional Help or Advice

So far we have looked at organisations that can provide general support and advice to help you in your small business, but what if there is a specific area that you need to engage one to one help or advice? How do you know where to go to ensure that the help you engage is good and reliable and that any advice you are given is accurate and cost effective?

Personal recommendation is a good place to start, however, you should always remember that everyone’s experience is relative to their own experience. With tax for example, a lot of taxes run on the self assessment system, just because someone’s tax return is submitted and they have paid their liability, doesn’t mean that anyone at HMRC has looked to check that everything is in order and sometimes it can take several years before issues in returns can come to light, by which time mistakes identified can be costly.

You have been recommended a professional that you would like to use, how can you be assured that they have up to date knowledge and will act professionally? Firstly, please check that they are a member of a professional body that represents their profession, verify that their membership is valid and also check that they hold Professional Indemnity Insurance. These few questions can save you a lot of stress and money if the answer to any is no!

A professional body is a member organisation in place to support, promote and inform their members as well as setting required standards for their members to work by. Members will be required to pass exams in order to be able to offer the services that they do. Before engaging a professional for one to one help, please do check that they are an active member of a professional body and that they hold Professional Indemnity Insurance

Here are some examples of professional bodies for some common professions where you may need to engage specific help or advice for your business:

  • Bookkeeping
    • The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB)
    • The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
  • Chartered Accountants
    • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
    • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
    • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
    • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Solicitors
    • The Law Society
      • Note that there is also a Legal Ombudsman
  • Human Resources (HR)
    • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development