"The Trusted Adviser"

As David M. Kall was studying to become an attorney, he understood the value of a strong tax background.

“I didn’t just want to be solely a tax professional,” says Kall, managing member of the Cleveland office for McDonald Hopkins LLC. “Ultimately what I wanted to be was that trusted adviser for the business owner. What I realized early on in my career was there are not a lot of attorneys who have that tax background.

“When you’re sitting there trying to advise a business owner as far as what to do in connection with a specific transaction or what to do in order to grow your business, how can you give that advice without knowing the tax consequences?”

Kall isn’t an entrepreneur, but he’s worked with many people who are to help them grow their businesses.

“When I’m sitting there advising early-stage companies, my goal is to be involved with companies,” Kall says. “When we look at our jobs as attorneys, there is no greater satisfaction than taking a company from the beginning all the way to what that perceived end would be. You can be that trusted adviser so they can ultimately turn that business into something meaningful for either themselves or their families.”

Listening is one of the most important traits of a good business adviser, he says. Entrepreneurs often have big dreams and lots of ways to realize their grand visions. It’s incumbent upon the adviser to take it all in and offer thoughtful, measured feedback in return.

“You never want to say you can’t do it,” Kall says. “What you want to be able to do is listen to what they have to say, but then based on your experience, equate that situation to something you’ve seen in the past. ‘I’ve seen it done this way before. This has been helpful. This has not.’ Ultimately, it’s the business owner that has to make the decision on how to proceed.

“Our job as that trusted adviser is to be someone who can sit there, listen to what the client wants, but then also give meaningful insight into what may or may not work and ultimately let them make the decision. It’s not our business, it’s theirs. You hope they take your advice to heart as they try to grow their business.”

Click here to read the original article from Smart Business Akron/Canton.

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