When does a small business need an attorney?
At times, it is difficult for small business owners to know if, or when, a small business attorney is needed. There are many parts of a business that can be solved without the aid of a small business attorney. However, there are many functions performed by a small business that could be greatly benefitted by consulting an attorney. A small business would be greatly benefitted by seeking legal aid in the following situations:
- Seeking a trademark
- Employment discrimination
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Establishing partnerships, LLCs, or corporations
- Creating contracts
These are a few examples where a small business should seek assistance. Obtaining an attorney is not only helpful once the business is running, but also helpful in the early stages of a small business. A small business attorney in the beginning stages of a small business can set parameters that could prevent the business from running into foreseeable issues. A small business should seek assistance in litigation that confronts the business.
What can a business attorney do for a small business?
A small business attorney can lay a solid foundation for the future of a small business. Attorneys can help small businesses start off on the right foot by performing some of the tasks mentioned in the preceding section. An attorney will know whether a general partnership, LLC, or a corporation would be the best for a certain business. The attorney could also set guidelines for the employer and employee relationship that could prevent future employment litigation. Their view of liability and shifting risk can be essential in the future survival of a business.
Not only would an attorney be beneficial for the larger aspects of starting a business, but one would be helpful in assisting in the day to day tasks of a small business. Some of these day to day tasks could include, setting up a tax scheme for the business, writing lease agreements, licensing, consulting, and the list continues. There are many reasons why it is important to seek the advice of an attorney in creating a business. Although, one of the most important reasons is prevention. Prevention of lawsuits, loss of money, and other potential issues that arise from not having a solid business foundation. Usually, small businesses do not have the revenue stream that other larger business have, and this is the reason that prevention is so important. Seeking counsel in the beginning may not only save you a few dollars if litigation arises, but could potentially save a business from losing everything.
What is the difference between a small business attorney and a CPA?
Often it can be confusing to a small business whether they should seek the assistance of an attorney, CPA (certified public accountant), or maybe even both. Obtaining assistance from both can be a necessary and critical part of creating and operating a business. CPAs are accountants, however, they have certified usually through a state certification process. CPAs are critical in specific financial and tax issues that will arise. CPAs can represent a small business during an audit with the IRS. They can assist in financial analysis dealing with questions like when and where to shift assets to increase revenue. CPAs are essential in bookkeeping and business strategy for a small business. On the other hand, there are small business attorneys.
At times, the duties of a CPA and attorney can overlap especially if the attorney is a tax lawyer. An attorney differs from a CPA in many ways. An attorney usually has a deeper understanding of the law, knowing when and when not to shift risk for the business. An attorney can defend the business in court against employment discrimination claims, trademark infringement claims, or any other claim that a third party could bring. Also, an attorney can perform essential legal analysis for a business. Both a CPA and attorney can be necessary parts to creating a business. CPAs have certain specialties dealing with taxes and finance matters, while an attorney may have these skills they are also able to manage liability for the business and protect the business from future litigation.