Do you need a business partner?

It is interesting to note how many partnerships were formed over a weekend. You meet someone at a party on Friday and by Monday you are in business together. No courtship, no honeymoon, just off you go into business. Well, let me suggest that such partners secure a good set of boxing gloves, because they are going to need them.

Which partner will handle various functions of the business should be decided at the outset. Who will make the final call when a major decision has to be made? Who will be in charge of telling an employee he/she is terminated? How many hours will each partner work in the business? Will spouses have a say in the business decisions?

Every partnership, even a very well planned one, is destined to terminate. It will come to an end because one partner dies, or wants to retire, or gets divorced and leaves town. You name it, there are endless reasons why, but sooner or later every partnership ends. So why not address the split-up at the time the partnership agreement is being put together.

Oh, you say, we don’t have a written agreement. We are good friends or brothers and, therefore, no agreement is necessary. Well, if one of you dies and the survivor is facing a lawyer for the deceased or a lawyer for the orphaned children, a written agreement of understanding will come in very handy.

Get with your attorney after the Friday party, but before Monday morning, and write a proper partnership agreement. You, your new partner, and your business will be better for it.

A final thought. Do you even need a partner? Unless you need a partner for financial reasons or you need technical expertise that you can’t get by hiring an employee, don’t take on a partner. You will find running the business and making business decisions much easier.


About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today’s small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it.

Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission.

Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.

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