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Dependently Independent

Posted on July 23, 2007

By James Montague

Independent.  What does it mean to be independent?  Is it truly the absence of dependence?  I would offer that anyone who calls himself or herself an “independent meeting planner” understands the dichotomy of the word. 

“No man is an island”, someone much wiser than me said some time ago.  And its true to be an independent meeting planner at the top of your game means having to manage a complex maze of relationships.  Accountants, lawyers, bankers, hotel contacts, family, marketers, vendors, etc; not to mention finding time to do the work itself!  So what do you really need to be “independent”?

In this post and those to follow this week we’ll explore the foundational relationships you’ll need to be “dependently independent”.

Arguably the most important, continuing relationship a self employed independent can have is with an accountant.  Without a good accountant April 15th each year can be especially hair-raising!  What makes a good accounting relationship?  For starters one that speaks YOUR language and I mean that in several different ways.  YOUR language means YOUR business!  Does your accountant take the time so sit down and get to know your business?  Every business has its own cycle does he know yours?  Do you feel like he applies a “one size fits all” approach to your business?  Do they offer suggestions on how to make your financial books look better?  Offer short cuts and more importantly suggestions on how to achieve your financial goals?

If you were hiring someone to work for your business you would spend lots of time interviewing, fact finding, reference checking and soul searching.  Yet many of us don’t take the same time and care when looking for our advisors.  Make no mistake about it your accountant is working for you so you should take the same care, if not more, when deciding on which one to entrust with your financial well being.  Spend a LOT of time on this part because you want this relationship to last for years.  The longer you work with an accountant obviously the more they get to know you and your business.  And when you find the right match it’s a beautiful thing!

Unfortunately the other side is also just as important.  When you know the match just isn’t right, don’t delay, make the change quickly.  Sure you’ve gotten to know them and breaking up is hard to do but your independence is just too important to leave to inaction.  Again you have to be the one to manage the expectations of the relationship.  Although we aren’t talking about brain surgery here you do want to treat this as you would your health; get a second opinion.  If something doesn’t feel right or sound right get a second opinion; its just too important to your future to leave to chance. 

Wednesday we’ll take a look at some of the other important relationships, the people we depend on to keep us independent.  And we’ll wrap up the week with how you put all these relationships together to work for YOU!


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